Sunday, July 17, 2011

Army Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann, 19, of Hartland, Maine

Pfc Springmann was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright, Alaska; died July 17, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth B. Elwell.

Pfc Springmann's father, Robert, who is in the Army and deployed to Afghanistan as well, escorted his son's body back to the U.S.

When he was 14, Tyler went to live with his father in Texas. He returned to Maine when he was 16 and spent his junior and senior year at Nokomis Regional High School where he graduated in 2010.

Wanting to follow in his father's footsteps, Tyler joined the Army in June 2010, after graduating. Mother, Tina Stratton, signed her 17-year-old son's paperwork for military enlistment.

"That was his dream," she said. "That was the one thing he wanted to do and I wasn't about to stand in his way of it, and I wasn't going to let anybody else do it, either."

"He wanted to make a career out of the military," step-father, Ben Martin added. "When he turned 18 he had his life all planned out. He was so happy -- was going to make a good life for himself."

"It's definitely hard; it's hard for everybody," Ben said. "We just wanted him back here in the United States. That's what going to bother us now -- he was looking so forward to coming home this December."

Pfc Springmann had married his high school sweetheart, Brittney, five and a half months ago and was looking forward to coming home for leave in December.

During his deployment, Springmann called home nearly every day, said brother Zachary. "He'd tell us how it was going and the new people he would meet. He was enjoying it because it was a new challenge for him."

Recalling her last phone call with her son, mother, Tina Stratton said, "He was in a really good mood; he had a really good day. He found a couple of roadside bombs before anyone could get hurt from them."

"I loved hearing his voice. When I hear his voice, it always made me feel so much better,' his mother said.

Her son was killed the next day.

This past October, Springmann surprised his mother when he used leave time from boot camp to visit home in Hartland. Stratton knocked the coffee table over in amazement when her son walked through the door.

"I had no idea he was coming home. I got to spend nine days with him and then he went back to Alaska," she said. "That was the biggest surprise I had ever had in my entire life. It was so awesome to see him walk through that door in his green uniform and his hat and big old Army boots. It was nice."

"I was so proud of him," she said. "He may not be here, but his spirit will always live on in my heart. He'll always be my hero. He'll always be my family's hero."

Zachary Martin said his brother taught him a lot of things, helped him study, volunteered with him to assist the elderly, and spent time with him skateboarding and riding their bicycles. He was more like a father than a brother, Zachary said.

"He helped me with everything," Zachary said.

Aunt, Theresa Martin, who lives next door to Stratton and Martin, said she will always hold onto a memory: his love of a white chocolate birthday cake from last year.

"He loved that cake; he so happy," she said. "He talked about it all the time, bragged about it every day. He asked if he'd get another one next year."
Springmann left for deployment to Afghanistan May 4, according to Martin and Stratton.

Funeral services will be held July 29 in the gymnasium of Nokomis Regional High School in Newport. He will be buried in Newport.

Pfc Springmann is survived by his mother, Tina & stepfather, Ben; father, Robert; stepmother, Brittney; brother, Zachary and sister, Keana.

Army Pfc. Tyler M. Springmann was killed in action on 7/17/11.

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