John Tinsley – Captain, United States Army


U.S. Department of Defense

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

August 14, 2009

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Captain John Tinsley, 28, of Tallahassee, Florida, died August 12, 2009, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.  He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.


Captain John Tinsley, 29, was killed August 12, 2009, while conducting a mounted patrol in the Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, in support of combat operations while serving with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).


He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in July 2009 as a member of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan. This was his third deployment in support of the Global War on Terror and first deployment to Afghanistan. He was a Special Forces Operational Detachment- Alpha team commander.

Tinsley was a native of New Jersey, and was commissioned in August 2002 after graduation from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. He was then later assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer, Virginia, as a member of the “Old Guard” in 2004. In 2006 he was deployed to Iraq as a member of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. He began the Special Forces Qualifications Course January 2007 and earning the coveted “Green Beret” in January 2009.

Tinsley’s military education includes the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle Commander’s Course, Infantry Officer Basic Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, Basic Airborne Course, Ranger Course, and Special Forces Qualification Course.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab and the Special Forces Tab.

Tinsley is survived by his wife, Emily, and daughter, Isabella, of Fayetteville, North Carolina; mother Debra, and father John Tinsley and brother Paul Tinsley all of Jacksonville, Florida.

Before becoming a highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, John Tinsley had already made his mark as a caring friend who was dedicated to the service of others.

Eric Lundblom, who knew Tinsley when they were members of the National Guard with the 124th Infantry Alpha Company in Tallahassee, recalled watching this “quiet kid” blossom from a cadet with Florida State University’s Army ROTC program to an officer who paid the “ultimate sacrifice” for his country.

“He turned into a leader of men,” Lundblom said of Tinsley, a Green Beret and recipient of the Purple Heart Medal, among numerous other awards and decorations.

Tinsley, 28, was killed Tuesday by an improvised explosive device strike to his vehicle during a routine patrol in the Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan while serving with company B of 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. He is survived by his wife, Emily Tinsley, and daughter, Isabella, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and parents Debra and John Tinsley of Jacksonville.

Tinsley graduated from Vanderbilt Catholic High School in Houma, Louisiana, in 1998. Lisa Vegas, director of public relations at the school and Tinsley’s eighth-grade language-arts teacher, said she remembers Tinsley being relatively quiet but that he stepped up to take charge of a service project his senior year.

“He wanted to serve others, and that’s what he’s done since then,” she said.

Members of his high-school class have been talking about ways to honor him and will likely make a contribution to the high-school’s endowment fund in Tinsley’s memory.

“It’s affected everyone in his class,” Vegas said.

Tinsley began attending FSU in 1998 and graduated with a degree in criminology. On Friday, FSU President T.K. Wetherell said “The Florida State University community joins Captain Tinsley’s family, friends and colleagues in mourning his loss.

“(Tinsley’s) courage in choosing to defend his country stands as an example for all of us,” Wetherell said. “We owe so much to the heroism of Capt. Tinsley, Capt. Scott Speicher and all of the many Florida State men and women who have sacrificed and served this nation.”

Tallahassee resident Jason White, who was in the Chi Phi fraternity with Tinsley, remembered him as a “genuine person.” White said he and Tinsley bonded over a mutual interest in martial arts, sometimes spending nights on the back deck of the fraternity house messing around and teaching each other what they knew.

“He was a great guy,” White said. “Some people thought he was a little rough around the edges, but once you got to know him he was one of the best guys you could ever be around. He cared for all of the brothers.”

White said one time he and Tinsley went to Potbelly’s and stayed out late the night before they had to go on an early-morning 5K run. Tinsley insisted that White stayed at his place so he could make sure White would wake up on time.

“That’s just the kind of the guy he was,” White said. “He would do whatever he could do to help you out.”

Tinsley is survived by his wife, Emily Tinsley, daughter Isabella, and parents John Tinsley, Debra Tinsley, and brother Paul Tinsley.

Houma soldier will be buried in Arlington on Thursday
Monday, 1 September 2009

An Army Special Forces officer from Houma who was killed in Afghanistan this month will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

The funeral will be held there Thursday for Captain John Tinsley, 28.

The Army said Tinsley died in central Afghanistan on August 12, 2009, after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle.

Tinsley was a 1998 graduate of Vandebilt High School who went on to Florida State University. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, commonly called the Green Berets, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

A memorial fund at a Cincinnati bank has been set up for his daughter, Isabella.

Donations can be mailed to the attention of Nick Konernan at PNC Bank, 5916 Cheviot Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45247.

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