Steven Edward Auchman – Master Sergeant, United States Air Force

No. 1125-04
IMMEDIATE RELEASE  November 10, 2004

DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Master Sergeant Steven E. Auchman, 37, of Waterloo, NewYork, died November 9, 2004, from injuries received when multiple rocket propelled grenades struck his location in Mosul, Iraq.  He was assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Lewis, Washington.


Master Sergeant Steven Edward Auchman was born on 21 April 1967 in Auburn New York. He graduated from Waterloo High School in June of 1985 and entered the USAF along with his twin brother John. He reported to Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB, Texas on 30 October 1985. After graduation, Airman Auchman completed the Ground Radio Communications Specialist Course at Keesler AFB, Mississippi on 23 June 1986. After completing his training, Airman Auchman reported to Robins AFB, Georgia where he was assigned to the 5th Combat Communications Group and then the 52d Combat Communications Squadron where he worked as an Air Traffic Control Radio Equipment Apprentice. While at Robins AFB, Senior Airman Auchman met and married the former Jennifer Smith. They have two children, Brian and Eric. In October 1989 Senior Airman Auchman was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

In February of 1990 Sergeant Auchman was assigned to the 2189th Communications Squadron at Comiso Air Station, Italy. While assigned at Comiso Air Station, he performed the duties of a Ground Radio Communications Specialist. As team chief for the Tactical Air Base Weather System deployment, Sergeant Auchman worked many hours preparing a mobile tower to support Hurricane Hugo relief efforts.

In March of 1991, Sergeant Auchman transferred to the 16th Communications Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida where he held numerous positions culminating as NCOIC of Maintenance Control. While at Hurlburt Field, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and then Technical Sergeant. Also during this period, he deployed to the 4412th Rescue Squadron at Camp Doha, Kuwait in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH. During the deployment, he was NCOIC of the communications workcenter where he provided essential communication services to 126 assigned personnel. Sergeant Auchman was recognized by the 4412th Commander for his dedication to duty and sense of mission accomplishment which contributed directly to the Combat Search and Rescue Mission. After returning from the deployment, he completed his Community College of the Air Force degree and earned the Air Force Association Eagle Grant for his academic and USAF accomplishments. Sergeant Auchman completed the USAF Non-Commissioned Officer Academy in February 1999 and received an Associates degree from Okaloosa-Walton Community College in May of 1999.

In February of 2000, Technical Sergeant Auchman reported to the 426th Information Operations Squadron at Vogelweh Cantonment AIN, Germany where he worked as a maintenance technician and then as NCOIC of Plans and Engineering. During this assignment, Technical Sergeant Auchman transformed an unsatisfactory facility program into a program identified as a “banner” program by the Air Intelligence Agency Inspector General.

In May of 2002, Technical Sergeant Auchman was assigned to the 1st Combat Communications Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany where he was the NCOIC of Air Traffic Control Radio Maintenance. He was promoted to Master Sergeant a few months after his arrival. His workcenter received the Air and Space Communications Group's Best Communications and Information Small Workcenter of the Year Award for 2003.

Master Sergeant Auchman arrived at the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron at Ft Lewis AIN, Washington in February 2004. Upon arrival, he became the 5th ASOS Maintenance Superintendent. In October of 2004, MSgt Auchman deployed with the 5th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron in support of 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Division. On 9 November 2004 Master Sergeant Auchman was killed in action during a mortar attack on his forward operating base in Mosul, Iraq.

Master Sergeant Auchman's decorations included the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal (3 devices), Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal (5 devices), National Defense Service Medal (1 device), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

Contributed by Dick Gillis from CMSgt Phillip Turgeon, 1st Combat Communications Squadron, Ramstein AB Germany.

11 November 2004:

A 37-year-old Air Force master sergeant was one of the two Fort Lewis-based service members killed in Tuesday’s attack on a U.S. base in Mosul, Iraq.

Steven E. Auchman is the first local airman to be killed since the onset of the war on terror in October 2001, and the first service member from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division to be killed since the Stryker unit arrived in Iraq last month.

The Pentagon said Auchman, of Waterloo, New York, was assigned to the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Lewis. Members of the squadron are deployed with Army units to coordinate their operations with fighters, bombers and cargo jets.

Auchman went to Iraq in October with the Army’s second Stryker brigade, from Fort Lewis, and was due to return home in January.

Officials at McChord Air Force Base said Auchman was a support superintendent who joined the service in 1985.

“Our hearts go out to all of Sergeant Auchman’s family, and the Air Force is doing everything it can to help them get through this difficult time,” Colonel George Bochain, the 1st Air Support Operations Group commander, said in a statement. “Steven was a wonderful father, a true hero and a superb airman.”

A McChord spokeswoman said Auchman’s family declined to talk with reporters.

The name of the other service member, a soldier, killed in Tuesday’s attack has yet to be released.

Like Auchman, he was assigned to Task Force Olympia, the Fort Lewis-based command that runs coalition military operations in northern Iraq.

More than 5,000 Fort Lewis troops, mostly from 1st Brigade, work under the task force.

Task Force Olympia on Tuesday said the service members had been killed in a mortar attack on a U.S. base in Mosul. A civilian contractor was wounded and taken to a military hospital in Baghdad.

But the Pentagon’s news release Wednesday identifying Auchman said the attack was by “multiple rocket-propelled grenades.”

Officials couldn’t be reached to explain the discrepancy.

November 12, 2004:

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE – An Air Force Master Sergeant assigned to the Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade is being remembered as a loving husband and father and one who wanted to be at the front lines in Iraq.

Steven Auchman, 37, was killed this week by mortar rounds exploding at his location near Mosul.

His wife wanted the opportunity to tell you about her husband.

“That he was a very wonderful person, that he was proud to serve the military and he believed in what he was doing,” said Jenny Auchman.

Even though she is grieving the loss of her husband, she invited us to McChord Air Force Base.

“I just wanted everybody to know what a good person he was,” she said.

Auchman's mother-in-law Judy Pendleton says, “We loved Steve a lot. He was one of those easy going mild type of guys and I just loved his humor.”

Even though he's in the Air Force, he worked with the Army Stryker Brigade. It was his decision to go to Mosul instead of remaining behind at an air base in Germany.

“I know ever since 9-11 happened he wanted to be there and wanted to be a part of it,” Jenny Auchman said. “He hated staying back on base on the sidelines.”

She supported his decision. Auchman had only been in Iraq a month.

His squadron commander called Jenny to say he was coming over to her house.

“I was hoping he was just coming to tell me he was hurt, but I knew and it was hard to open that door,” she said. “I didn't want to open that door when they did get there.”

Now she and their two teenaged sons will have to cope with the loss.

McChord Air Force Base has been involved in fighting since day one, but now with the death of Master Sergeant Auchman, they've suffered their first casualty. Aircrews have flown hundreds of missions in and out of the war zone with no loss of life.

Master Sergeant Auchman's family says he was right where he wanted to be: the front line. Jenny says, “He died honorably.”

A memorial is planned for Tuesday at Fort Lewis and the family is making plans for another memorial off the base. Jenny just asks for you to keep them in your thoughts.

DATE OF BIRTH: 04/21/1967
DATE OF DEATH: 11/09/2004


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