5 minutes with … an Operation Vacation soldier | PostIndependent.com

5 minutes with … an Operation Vacation soldier

Chad Spangler Post Independent

Name: Timothy L. Tilley

Age: 38

Place of birth: Columbus, Ga.

Branch of the military: U.S. Army, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, “the Big Red One”

Family: Sarah Faye, my wife, and three children: Michael, Blake and Gabriella

When did you join the Army? December, 1988

Why did you join the Army? Love of country and a strong sense of responsibility to it and my fellow citizens.

Where have you been deployed? Saudi Arabia (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), Bosnia and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom.)

What was your favorite place you’ve been stationed? Germany was an absolutely incredible country to live and work in. I also enjoyed the culture and history of Korea.

What military experience most surprised you? Being in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom versus my first time in the middle east for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The Army of today certainly provides more opportunity for soldiers, especially young soldiers, than it did when I deployed the first time. Going back to Iraq ” 17 years later ” and finding such an improved quality of life was the biggest surprise of my career and one I sought to ensure my soldiers fully understood the importance of. The Army does take good care of it’s men and women in uniform.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I judge visual and effect captions for winter guard and outdoor pageantry events for the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association, the Colorado Bandmaster’s Association and the United States Scholastic Band Association. Having participated in these activities as a young man, I learned the value of hard work and dedication. It is incredible to see kids learning from their participation in these activities and being a part of the process. I enjoy modern wind music as well as Jazz and listen to music every chance I get. I love to read military-related fiction.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a soldier, following in my grandfather, SFC (retired) Lee Tilley’s footsteps. He served in Germany in WWII as well as in Korea during the war. Also my father, Jerry Tilley, who was a sailor aboard the USS Guadalcanal in the late ’60s.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: “Sometimes, you’ve got to just take care of yourself.”

What’s your most memorable military experience? Being a casualty affairs officer and being able to provide assistance to families of fallen soldiers in their time of need. It was not the most happy time of my career, but certainly the most memorable. In a broader sense, being a platoon sergeant and mentoring young soldiers and watching them grow was a wonderful experience.

What are you looking forward to doing while in Glenwood Springs? Spending quality time with my family and enjoying time away from Iraq.

What are your future plans in the military? I will be returning to Iraq to complete my tour. We expect to be home by Christmas and I will retire on 30 March, 2009, after over 20 years of service. My family and I thank Mr. Bob Johnson and all the folks who have made this special trip possible for us. It truly means so much to us to finally be afforded some recognition for the hardships that we’ve endured, together, during my time in the Army.

Operation Vacation and the generous citizens of Glenwood Springs along with Mr. Johnson are things and people that are worth fighting for and make it somewhat easier to return to Iraq knowing that there are great Americans standing behind the men and women of the armed forces.

Thanks and HOOAH!

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