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Waynesboro, Pa., soldier killed in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman 'liked being a soldier'

May 19, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A 28-year-old soldier from Waynesboro was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy in Kabul.

Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman was one of five U.S. troops killed in the attack that claimed 18 lives, the Department of Defense said Wednesday.

"He liked being a soldier. He loved the Army," his father, Richard Tieman, said Wednesday.

The family moved around the country during the elder Richard Tieman's military career. They settled in Waynesboro more than a decade ago, giving the high-energy teenager an opportunity to attend local schools and make friends in town.

"Whenever I think about him, I get a big ol' smile on my face," Toby Ditch said of his best friend.

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Tieman joined the Army when he was 18 and served two tours of duty in Iraq, followed by the one in Afghanistan that started in August. He had been based in Heidelberg, Germany, when there was a call for additional troops and he was sent to Afghanistan.

"His responsibility was providing security for the senior officers at the headquarters," his father said.

Tieman's family said he shared the bad feeling they all had about the third deployment. They said something felt amiss as they traveled to the airport to say goodbye.

Despite that feeling, Tieman was able to enjoy a rest and relaxation leave for a couple of weeks this spring. He used the time to marry a fellow soldier he had dated for a few years.

Staff Sgt. Paulina Tieman and her husband were planning a bigger wedding ceremony for December in Florida.

Tieman was eager to return to the United States in July and start new duties as a drill sergeant at Fort Jackson, S.C., his father said.

Richard's mother, Diane Tieman, said she and her older son bonded greatly when her husband was serving in Desert Storm. The boy, who always served as a mentor to his brother, Tyler, enjoyed a variety of activities, she said.

As an adult, Tieman liked to spend his down time fishing or participating in raucous barbecue parties at the family home. He and Tyler, 17, would engage in marathon sessions of the Guitar Hero video game.

"We just got together and did crazy stuff," Ditch said, saying he watched military service transform his friend from a boy to a man.

Ditch said his friend talked only once about the friends he had lost in Iraq, but he could tell it weighed heavily on him.

"He said, 'That's my job. That's what I signed up for,'" Ditch said.

Tieman's father and brother will reunite with Paulina Tieman today at Dover Air Force Base when his body is returned to the United States. The family intends to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery.

Diane Tieman said her son will be remembered as an "all-out great man who loved his country, his family and was always there when you needed him."

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