Letterkenny dedicates child-development center to memory of fallen soldier

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman remembered as 'a great soldier and a great friend'

June 08, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman's widow, Paulina Tieman, and his father, Richard Tieman, stand Wednesday in the child development center dedicated to the fallen soldier at Letterkenny Army Depot near Chambersburg.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Letterkenny Army Depot dedicated its child-development center Wednesday in memory of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman of Waynesboro, Pa., who was killed in Afghanistan a year ago.

Tieman, 28, was one of five U.S. soldiers killed in a May 18, 2010, suicide bomb attack on a NATO convoy in Kabul.

Six soldiers who were with Tieman when he died traveled from Germany to participate in the dedication ceremony.

"(We) would have been upset if we couldn't have been here for this," platoon Sgt. 1st. Class Hugo Webster said.

Webster remembered the day that "T", or "TNT" as he called Tieman, lost his life.

The day started out normally, Webster said.

"It was a beautiful day — just crazy traffic as usual. We were just riding along, and we got to a point where we kind of felt something was wrong," Webster said.

He said the road they usually traveled was blocked.

"We made a right, and all I saw was a cloud of dust and, a vehicle parked, and that's all I remember," Webster said. "I woke up, and I asked, 'Where is Tieman,' and there was a vehicle on fire, and I started running toward it. I couldn't make out what it was. It was just scrap metal."

Webster was one of the many who paid tribute to the man they called an American hero.

"He took us through. He is truly my hero," Webster said.

The soldiers from Tieman's convoy stood up during the ceremony.

Spc. Diego Yandoc still bore the long scar on the left side of his face from the attack that claimed Tieman's life. He was in the third vehicle behind Tieman's.

"One thing I know about Richard Tieman is he is a great soldier and a great friend. Even though he is gone, he's never going to be forgotten," Sgt. 1st Class Jose Carmona said.

Sgt. Andrew Rodriguez said Tieman took charge of the convoy.

"He's the greatest leader I've ever worked with. He didn't accept defeat. He was the greatest. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, and we're still here because of that," Rodriguez said.

Col. Cheri A. Provancha, Letterkenny's commander, welcomed friends, family and guests to the dedication of the SSG Richard J. Tieman Child Development Center.

"There is no greater calling than giving the last full measure in defense of our freedom. Staff Sgt. Tieman answered the call just over a year ago on May 18 in a convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan," Provancha said.

Tieman's widow, Paulina Tieman, said the child-care center was a fitting tribute to her husband.

"He would have loved it. It's really beautiful," she said.

Paulina Tieman said her husband loved being a soldier.

"He was a patriotic man. He loved this country. He's one in a million. They don't make them like that anymore," she said.

1st Sgt. Gregory Stevens said children at the center will learn about Tieman's acts of heroism.

"Staff Sgt. Richard Tieman is a hero to all of us, and I want you to know that as these small children and the children that come after them for as long as this building stands, as they pass through these doors and see Richard Tieman's picture, they will know what a hero is," Stevens said.

The child-care center opened in October. It provides care for the children of military and civilian workers at the depot.

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