Richard James Tieman – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense

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

May 19, 2010

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of five soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died May 18, 2010, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

Killed were:

Colonel John M. McHugh, 46, of New Jersey, assigned to the U.S. Army Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Lieutenant Colonel Paul R. Bartz, 43, of Waterloo, Wisconsin, assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas P. Belkofer, 44, of Perrysburg, Ohio, assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York

Staff Sergeant Richard J. Tieman, 28, of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany; and

Specialist Joshua A. Tomlinson, 24, of Dubberly, Louisiana, assigned to Special Troops Battalion, V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany.

Staff Sergeant Richard James Tieman of Waynesboro will join the ranks of other national heroes by having a burial in Arlington National Cemetery, his dad, Richard Tieman Jr., confirmed Friday.


Arlington is considered “the most hallowed burial ground of our fallen military and one of the most visited tourist sites in the Washington, D.C., area,” according to Arlington Superintendent John C. Metzler Jr.

“Yes, he will be buried in Arlington,” said Tieman's dad, his voice cracking under the grief of losing his son. “We're waiting for the military mortuary services to give us a call about when and where we can have a viewing.”

The dad, a resident of Waynesboro, said he has been overwhelmed by the community support for his family, and the respect the public has shown his son.

“It's so freaking amazing, I can't express how I feel,” he said. “It's just overwhelming.”

Tieman, 28, the step-son of Diane Tieman, also of Waynesboro, was one of five soldiers who died Tuesday from wounds suffered from a suicide car bomb explosion, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The explosion occurred in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“They died of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their convoy with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device,” DOD reported.

A special ceremony honoring Tieman was scheduled for this morning at the Kmart shopping center in Waynesboro. The event was organized by Brothers of the Brush and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 695, according to Mayor Richard Starliper.

“Our prayers and support go out to the family for the individual who has given his life for this country,” Starliper said. Other events offering tribute to the soldier are being planned for Waynesboro's Memorial Day parade, and the memorial service that follows the parade, he said.

Waynesboro, Pa., soldier killed in Afghanistan
Staff Sergeant Richard J. Tieman ‘liked being a soldier’
Courtesy of The Herald Mail
May 19, 2010

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

Staff Sergeant 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.

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, South Carolina, 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.”

Staff Sergeant Richard James “Rick” Tieman never backed down from anyone or anything. He fought for his country and stood up for what he believed in.

His family laughed and cried Friday as they shared memories of the fallen soldier at their North Grant Street home.

Tieman was killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the deadliest attack on NATO forces this year.

“After the invasion a woman came up to me and told me if it wasn’t for my son, her husband wouldn’t be alive,” his father, Richard L. Tieman, said. “Every night my son’s unit went out to clear the roads and it was extremely dangerous. They were under fire one night and my son ripped the door off the Humvee and carried her husband to safety when he got wounded. She was so thankful for him.”

Richard said his son never complained about the difficult things he had to do while fighting in the war in Iraq.

Tieman was ending his third tour of duty overseas when he was killed. He would have returned home in two months. Four other American soldiers — a full Colonel, two Lieutenant Colonels and a Specialist — a Canadian Colonel and 12 Afghan civilians were also killed in the blast.

His family is still in the process of planning a funeral and will announce arrangements soon. Tieman’s remains are still in Dover’s mortuary where they will be readied for his trip home. The family plans to bury him in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where other family members who served in the military are buried.

Wonder years

Tieman’s father smiled as he recounted stories from his son’s younger years on the Army base when Richard himself was in the military.

“When we’re running (drills) in the Army, one of us will take the flag and run it around the unit as fast as we can. One time I was running the flag and Richard was right along with me. When we were in formation, my commanding officer asked who the small soldier was running with me. He said, ‘He’s a bit small, but he’s ready!’ Another officer told him it was my son and he looked at me and said, ‘You’re training him well!’”

When Richard was 8, he told General Gary Luck at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he had big muscles for an old guy. His father said it was a long-standing joke between them.

“I couldn’t believe he just said that to a three-star general!” he said.

‘Real go-getter’

His family remembers the soldier as a “gregarious, outgoing, enthusiastic, patriotic young man.”

“He liked taking charge. He was a real go-getter,” his father said. “He wasn’t one of those guys that liked to sit in the house. He liked to go out and do something.”

Tieman would do anything for his family and friends and stood up for them any chance he got.

“I think he would have fought anyone’s battle, even if he didn’t know them,” his mother Diane said.

The group laughed at Tieman’s obsession with keeping his teeth clean and with the video game “Guitar Hero.”

Tieman joined the Army in 2000 and was first stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He then went to Bamberg, Germany, before Fort Riley, Kansas, where he met his wife, Staff Sergeant Paulina Tieman. He was first sent overseas for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was there until 2004. He served in Iraq from 2006 to 2007 and was then stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, with U.S. Army Europe. He deployed the third time in August 2009. He has been awarded with numerous medals, including the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom with two bronze stars and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

“He was so brave,” Paulina Tieman said through tears.

Tieman was set to return home in two months to finish planning his Florida Keys wedding and Australian honeymoon. The couple were married in a civil ceremony in April. He planned on becoming a drill instructor at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

“I talked to him for about an hour last Friday,” Richard Tieman said. “We talked about him packing up his stuff and coming home, the wedding and Australia.”

Richard last saw his son in July 2009 when he and Tieman’s 17-year-old brother, Tyler, visited for two weeks before Tieman’s deployment.

Major Stewart Upton, public affairs officer to the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Afghanistan, said Tieman was a great guy.

“He was a kind spirit who had a great sense of humor while doing his job serving his country and working towards a better Afghanistan,” Upton said.

Sergeant Raymond Henry was stationed with Tieman in Germany and said he would miss his friend, who was the only other Philadelphia Eagles fan on base.

Plenty of support

Tieman’s father, brother and wife were at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Thursday when his remains were flown to the U.S. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, was in attendance.

“They consoled us and Admiral Mullen said if we need anything at all, we can contact him directly. It was rather in-depth,” his father said.

“Even though it was very painful, the ceremony was so professional. It was so amazing that in such a sad situation, they made sure we knew we were in their thoughts and prayers.”

Tieman’s father, who served as a paratrooper and military policeman with the Army for 25 years, said his former soldiers were also at the ceremony guarding his son’s casket.

“They let us know that they are thinking about us over there. It’s very heartfelt that everyone’s that concerned,” he said.

Specialist David “Stretch” Gartner, who served with Tieman’s father, wrote the following message to the family on The Record Herald’s Web site:

“To Master Sergeant Rick Tieman (retired) and family. On behalf of all your former soldiers at the 572nd MP Company please accept our prayers and sympathies at your great loss and sacrifice. It has been almost 25 years since we all served together, but time will not break the bonds of brotherhood we formed. We are still with you and your son’s legacy will be remembered for even longer. May peace find your family soon.”

The Waynesboro community has rallied around the family. Flags were hung along Main Street this morning, Tieman was recognized at the Brothers of the Brush annual barbecue fundraiser in the Kmart parking lot today with area government and emergency services personnel present. He will also be included in the town’s Memorial Day celebration May 31. The family appreciates all of the support it has received since learning the grim news.

The Tiemans are taking the soldier’s death one day at a time.

“Those guys are over there fighting for these small towns and dying for them. That’s what Richard did, he died to protect this country,” his father said, tears welling in his blue eyes.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 11/21/1981
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/18/2010

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