4 Ind. National Guardsmen killed in Afghanistan

Jan 7, 2012, 11:53 PM

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Four soldiers with an Indiana-based National Guard unit were killed in Afghanistan and a fifth was injured when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb as they were working to clear a supply route of the improvised bombs, guard officials said Saturday.

Indiana Adjutant General Martin Umbarger said the four members of the Valparaiso-based 713th Engineer Company died Thursday morning in southern Afghanistan. He said all of the men were combat engineers who specialized in clearing major supply routes.

The blast occurred as their vehicle traveled along a road, scouting for signs of roadside bombs and other potential problems convoys might encounter as the move supplies in the decade-long war in Afghanistan, Umbarger said.

“Their mission is to keep the major supply routes clear of all obstacles for the convoys. And what that means is they’re the first ones to go out to make sure the route can be used, so it’s a very important mission _ but it’s also extremely dangerous,” he told The Associated Press.

The four men killed were identified as: Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Metzger, 32, of Indianapolis, Spc. Brian J. Leonhardt, 21, of Merrillville, Ind., Spc. Robert J. Tauteris Jr., 44, of Hamlet, Ind., and Spc. Christopher A. Patterson, 20, of Aurora, Ill.

A fifth soldier injured in the blast, Pvt. Douglas Rachowicz, 29, of Hammond, Ind., was initially treated at a military base hospital in Kandahar before being airlifted to the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, Umbarger said.

Tauteris’ uncle, Ed Tauteris of North Judson, Ind., said the family has been devastated by the death.

He said his nephew, who grew up in rural northwestern Indiana’s Starke County and graduated from North Judson High School, was a loving, attentive father to his two sons, Robert Tauteris III and Matthew.

“He was great father who loved his kids, took very good care of them. He was a great provider. He’d work seven days a week, come home and take his kids fishing, hunting, to baseball, stuff like that,” he said.

Ed Tauteris, 69, said his nephew reenlisted in the National Guard after his 21-year-old son, Robert III joined up and was sent to Afghanistan. He said his nephew had hoped he might be able to keep his son safe during his deployment.

He said Robert Tauteris III, who was still in Afghanistan when his father was killed, accompanied his father’s body back to the U.S.

“He flew home with his dad. That poor kid. I feel so bad for him,” he said.

Umbarger said the four soldiers’ deaths were the greatest number of Indiana guards since March 2005, when four members of the Indianapolis-based 76th Infantry Brigade died when a land mine exploded under their military vehicle about 30 miles south of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said in a statement that Umbarger called him Saturday morning to tell him of the deaths. The governor said he’s praying for the soldiers’ families.

” I received from the adjutant general the news a person in my job dreads the most, that we have lost soldiers in combat. I had begun to hope that I had received the last such phone call, and cannot convey the sadness which it instantly brought,” Daniels said.

“My prayers are joined with those of millions of Hoosiers who will hear this terrible news with deep grief but also with gratitude for the courage of those we have lost, and pride that we come from a state that produces men such as these,” he said.

Umbarger said the four soldiers’ families were informed Friday of the deaths, and the last family members were told the news Friday night. He said he’s “humbled and honored” by the courage of the nation’s service members and said the sacrifices of the four men won’t be forgotten.

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of these brave citizen-soldiers,” he said in a statement. “We will honor their sacrifice and always remember them.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Brian Dahle, left, talks with fellow GOP state Sen. A...
Associated Press

Newsom’s opponent: I’m reasonable, not a ‘crazy Republican’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Brian Dahle, the Republican Party’s longshot hope to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in California, knows that to win in his progressive home state he can’t allow Democrats to label him as an election denying, abortion-hating, gun-loving, bombastic right-winger. It’s why Dahle, an affable farmer and state senator from the sparsely populated […]
21 hours ago
This image released by Bleecker Street shows Freida Pinto, left, and Zawe Ashton in a scene from "M...
Associated Press

‘Minions’ set box office on fire with $108.5 million debut

Families went bananas for Minions this weekend at the movie theater. ” Minions: The Rise of Gru ” brought in an estimated $108.5 million in ticket sales from 4,391 screens in North America, Universal Pictures said Sunday. By the end of the Monday’s July Fourth holiday, it will likely have earned over $127.9 million. The […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Firefighters battle fresh wildfire in Northern California

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters in Northern California were battling a fresh wildfire that broke out Monday east of Sacramento and forced a number of evacuations. The fire burning in Amador County quickly spread to 959 acres (388 hectares) as of just after 7 p.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire. The fire agency had said […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, left, and lawyer Rusty Webb enter the Robert C. Byrd United...
Associated Press

US judge finds for 3 drug distributors in WVa opioid lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of three major U.S. drug distributors in a landmark lawsuit that accused them of causing a health crisis by distributing 81 million pills over eight years in one West Virginia county ravaged by opioid addiction. The verdict came nearly a year after closing […]
21 hours ago
Mynor Cardona and Ufemia Tomas, parents of Yenifer Yulisa Cardona Tomás, smile as they talk with h...
Associated Press

A migrant survivor of the trailer: ‘They couldn’t breathe’

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The advice of a friend to stay near the door of a semi-trailer may have saved Yenifer Yulisa Cardona Tomás from the deadly end that 53 other migrants met when the truck was abandoned last week on the outskirts of San Antonio. Cardona Tomás, a 20-year-old from Guatemala’s capital, said in […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

San Francisco property owners banned from parking car on it

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco couple that parked their car for decades on a paved part of their property in front of their home has been banned from doing so unless they want to risk steep fines. KGO-TV reported Monday that city officials sent a letter to Judy and Ed Craine telling them […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
4 Ind. National Guardsmen killed in Afghanistan