TCU Heros and Heroines



Remember Our Members Fighting in the Gulf

A Statement of Solidarity from
TCU International President Robert A. Scardelletti

March 25, 2003

These are somber times. Many TCU members, their sons and their daughters, have been called to military duty to fight against the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. They are there putting their lives on the line for freedom.

Because we are a free and democratic nation, differences about the issues surrounding this conflict are freely expressed. Everyone in a free society has a right to his or her own opinions.

But now that war has begun, as battles spill real blood, I urge all of us — whatever our opinions about strategy or even about the President himself–-to close ranks and stand in support of our troops. As these brave men and women are called to this mission, let us rally behind them and let them know that we are with them all the way, that we hope and pray for their swift and safe return.

On the homefront, the nation’s firefighters, police officers and health care workers continue to put their lives on the line to protect us. We owe them, too, a debt of gratitude.

Overseas and here at home, there are heroes among us. I thank them all.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan Etterling Killed in Helicopter Crash

U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Jonathan Etterling, 22, the son of District 6344 member William Etterling and his wife, Kay, died January 26 in Iraq. He was aboard a Marine Corps transport helicopter that crashed during a sandstorm, killing 29 other Marines and one Navy sailor. It was the single deadliest event for America since the war in Iraq began.

Etterling was a heavy weapons specialist with the 3rd Marines, 1st Battalion, C Company and had just been sent north after spending five months in heavy fighting in Fallujah. The helicopter was on a security mission in support of the Iraqi elections when it went down.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by a sister, Angela Vallance.

“This young Marine died in his prime doing a job he believed in,” says President Bob Scardelletti. “His loss saddens us all.”

U.S. Marine Sgt. Duane Rios Killed in Combat

Sgt. Duane Rios, 25, originally of Griffith, Indiana, was killed in a firefight on the front lines east of Baghdad on April 5. His wife, Erica Rios, is the daughter of ARASA Lodge 5001 member Keith Kozup.

A combat engineer with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Rios had been a Marine since 1999. The couple lived in San Clemente, California, near Camp Pendleton, where Rios was stationed.

“Our deepest sympathy goes to the family of this brave Marine who died for the cause of freedom,” says President Bob Scardelletti.


TCU Members Serving in the Persian Gulf

U.S. Army Sgt. Kenneth Anderson, 49, a South Carolina National Guardsman with 178th Engineers and member of Carmen Lodge 6205, has been called to active duty for deployment to Iraq. A Spartanburg resident, Anderson joined the Army in 1974 and joined the Army reserve in 1978. He remained in the Reserve until 1981 and joined the South Carolina National Guard in 1987. A TCU member since 1979, Anderson is a former Lodge 6061 Trustees Board Chairman. His wife, Catherine, will remain in Spartanburg.

U.S. Army National Guard Sgt. David Barker, 29, a member of Lodge 6295, has been called to active duty with the 113th Engineer Battalion in LaPorte, Indiana, and eventual deployment to Iraq. A member of Lodge 6295, Barker is a terminal carman, who has been on the job with the South Shore line, a commuter railroad operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, for three years and a National Guardsman for six years. A father of two young children, Barker’s service to his country follows a familiar path. His grandfather served in the Army Air Corps in World War II and retired as a U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel. His father, a Navy man for four years, retired as an E-4, or Petty Officer Third Class. Barker’s unit began its mobilization in late October and he expects his tour of duty to last 18 months. “I’m serving my country,” he says. “I’m doing my duty. I’m going to come back home.”


U.S. Marine Sgt. Corey Beachel, 28, is a maintenance/control crew chief with the Marine Attack Blacksheep Squadron 214 currently deployed to Kuwait. The squadron is based at the Marine Corps Air Staion in Yuma, Arizona. He is the brother of Lodge 112 member Coleen Cook.


U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Clarence Brookins, 49, is an Air Force Reservist who has been called to active duty and a member of Lodge 679 in Chicago, Illinois. Stationed at Grissom Air Force Base in Indiana, Brookins has been sent overseas with the exact location confidential.
Brookins, who is married to Annie Brookins, is a Union Pacific RTA clerk and has been a member of TCU since 1978. He entered the Air Force Reserve after serving in Vietnam and served one year of active duty in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Brookins says he enjoys the military, especially world travel and has no hesitation about being called to war.

U.S. Navy CT03 Justin Christner, 19, is a decoder technician aboard the U.S.S. Fletcher in the Persian Gulf. The son of Lodge 112 member Mike Christner of Hershey, Nebraska, he and his wife, Chelsey, are expecting their first child soon. “Justin is very patriotic and is committed to defending his family and his country,” says his father.

U.S. Army Capt. Michelle Clark, 34, is an Army reservist who was mobilized to full time active duty in January. Formerly with the regular Army, she is the daughter of Lodge 5093 member Constance Colliton and is married with two children. Clark serves with the 5025th Garrison Support Unit stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, as a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment Company Commander overseeing 239 soldiers. Her group works mobilizing Army reservists. Her mission, she says, is to “assist soldiers with the concerns they bring to me” and to “support them in the performance of their duties and develop their abilities to the fullest capacity.”

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Eric Delano, 22, was deployed to Iraq in March. He is single and is the son of Lodge 6799 carman Al Delano of Lincoln, Nebraska. He is stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Manuel Doud III, 22, detailed to an amphibious vehicle with the 2nd Marines in Iraq, U.S. Navy E-3 Wesley J. Stewart, 19, a weapons mechanic stationed at Lemoore, California, and U.S. Navy E-3 Jessica Doud, serving on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz in the Persian Gulf, are all children of Lodge 112 member Manuel Doud, Jr. and Diane Doud. The parents say their children, who are all single, “are proud to be Americans.”

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Michael Erickson, 38, currently serving in Kuwait, has strong family ties to TCU. He is the son of retired District 1288 member Jake Erickson and the son-in-law of Lodge 6743 member John Small and District 1288 member Vickie Small, all of Alliance, Nebraska. Erickson, his wife Kelli and their three children also make their home in Alliance. He is stationed full-time at the National Guard Armory in Chadron, Nebraska.


U.S. Navy Lt. Michael Finn, 26, is an E-2C “Hawkeye” pilot based aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he is married and is the son of Lodge 1277 member James Finn of West Babylon, New York.

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Brian Fox, 30, is beginning a one-year deployment in the Middle East. He is the nephew of Lodge 512 member Linda Kamp. He joined the Air National Guard after serving four years with the Marines.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bradley Huber, 25, is currently serving in the Middle East, with his last known assignment being Kuwait. He is the son-in-law of District 593 member Larry Grimm of St. Paul, Minnesota and is married to Grimm’s daughter Amy.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Rocky T. Horn, 26, serves with a weapons company currently aboard the U.S.S. Juneau deployed to Iraq. He is the nephew of retired District 619 member Richard Horn, who says Rocky “wanted to serve his country and be a Marine” and be a part of a “military family tradition.” He is single and is stationed at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Blair Horrell, 22, is currently stationed in Washington, DC, and is single. Recently reenlisted for a second tour of duty, Horrell will soon be reassigned to light armored vehicles. His mother, TCU headquarters staff and District 2512 member Debra Horrell, says he planned to be a Marine “since he was eight years old.” Horrell has a long family history of military service and has two cousins currently on active duty.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ben Jensen, 24, is with the 727th Air Mobility Squadron stationed at Mildenhall Royal Air Force Base in the United Kingdom. He is single and is the son of Challenger Lodge 763 Local Chairman Larry Jensen and member Linda Jensen, both of whom work for Union Pacific.


U.S. Army CW2 Allan Kelly, 32, is a CH-47 Chinook helicopter aviator with Co. B 159th Aviation Regiment. Currently deployed to the Middle East, he is stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia and is the son-in-law of District 319 member Brian Reppe.



U.S. Army Sgt. Mike Kennicker, 24, is a combat engineer with the 101st Air Assault, 37th Combat Engineers stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. With the start of the war in March, Kennicker’s battalion worked from Kuwait through Iraq and he stood in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. The son of Cornhusker Lodge 6799 carman Joe Kennicker, Mike is single.


U.S. Army Cpl. Gabriel Lechner is with the 101st Airborne, currently deployed to Iraq. The son-in-law of Lodge 6799 member Stanley Richardson, Lechner is following a strong family tradition: his father is with the Army’s 167th Cavalry in Bosnia and both his grandfather and great grandfather served with the Airborne.

U.S. Army Spec. Angela Lutes, 20, will be deployed to Kuwait this month for one year. The daughter of Lodge 512 member Linda Kamp, Lutes is stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and served six months in Kuwait last year.


U.S. Army Spec. E-4 Raymond Martinez, 26, is with the 418 Civil Affairs Battalion currently deployed to Tikrit, Iraq. He is the nephew of Lodge 6799 member Robert Perez and is also a student at Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit Missouri. Martinez says that he is proud to serve and keep freedom alive.

U.S. Navy E-5 Ruben Martinez, Jr., 35, is a member of Lodge 6601 and a reservist who has been activated. He is currently deployed to La Maddalena, Italy, and is single. When not on active duty, Brother Martinez makes his home in El Paso, Texas and is a Union Pacific car inspector.

U.S. Navy HN3 Glen Moody, 22, is detailed to a mortar platoon with the U.S. Marine Security Company Division 1 working infantry checkpoints in Baghdad. He previously served with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Afghanistan detecting land mines at Khandahar Airport and signed up for duty in Iraq. He is the nephew of Lodge 177 member Patricia Daly-Matonti, who says “Glen insists on fighting for the freedom of all peoples and is led by his faith in God and his country.” Moody is seen in this March 2002 photo aiding children in Indonesia.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. James Neubauer of Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, joined the Marine Corps in February 2001. He is the son of Lodge 177 member James Neubauer (a Long Island Railroad ticket clerk) and the grandson of Robert Woods, who served with the Marines in Korea. Neubauer has an ambition to be a police officer for Suffolk County (NY) or the LIRR and enjoys bodybuilding. He is also a talented artist and resides with his parents.

U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Keith O’Donnell, Jr., 40, is a public affairs specialist with the 350th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, currently deployed with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Division somewhere in Iraq. O’Donnell is the son/stepson of District 829 members and TCU International Office employees Robbie and Rod Mai. O’Donnell and his wife, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Debra O’Donnell, are both Army reservists on full-time active duty stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana where she, too, is awaiting deployment. They have three children.

U.S. Army Sgt. Janice Oliver, 39, a member of Lodge 177, is an Army reservist who has been called to active duty. She is a ticket clerk with the Long Island Railroad. Originally from Jamaica, she came to the United States in May 1989 and joined the Army in October of that same year. Her sister and her fiancé are caring for her 3-year-old son, Delmont, while she is deployed. Plans for a June wedding have been put on hold. In addition to her duties with the LIRR and the Army, Oliver is a full-time college student working toward a bachelor’s degree in marketing. “Janice is most admired, level-headed and focused in everything she does,” says Lodge 177 Local Chairman William DeCarlo.

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Roy Ollie III, 32 years old, is a B-2 Bomber crew chief for quality assurance. Stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, Ollie is married and has two children. He is the son of Lodge 763 member Roy Ollie, Jr.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua Oshinski, 22, is a machine gunner with the 2nd Force Service Support Group, 8th Engineer Support Battalion and is currently serving in Iraq. He is detailed to protect soldiers working on the rebuilding effort and guard fuel for American vehicles. The son of Lodge 6295 trustees board chairman Tom Oshinski of Michigan City, Indiana, he is single. He has been deployed since February and is expected to return home in February 2004. “After witnessing life and war as a Marine in Iraq, he’s even more proud to be an American and to serve his country,” his mother, Paula, says.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. David Rebec, the stepson of Lodge 6578 member Ignacio “Nacho” Sandoval, is a driver/mechanic/heavy equipment operator currently deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. He is 19. Rebec joined the Marine Corps to earn money for college and because his father was a Marine. He says “it’s a family thing.”

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Joe Rivera, 29, is a tank commander with the First Squadron-First Cavalry currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq. He is married with two children and is the son of Challenger Lodge 763 Local Chairman Larry Jensen and member Linda Jensen, both of whom work for Union Pacific.


U.S. Army Staff Seargent Karl Roller of Local Lodge 6146 in Firestone, Colorado receives Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan. Karl Roller is the brother of Local Chairman Duane J. Roller and Protective Committee Member Mark Roller, also of Local Lodge 6146. (click here for more)


U.S. Army 1st Lt. Richard Schildman III, 24, is a Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter pilot with the 2nd Army Cavalry Regiment in Baghdad, Iraq. He is the son of Lodge 6787 member Richard Schildman II of Victoria, Illinois.

U.S. Air Force AIC Paul Shreve, Jr., 22, is an air traffic controller currently serving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. His is single. His father, Paul Shreve, Sr., lives in Shreveport, Louisiana and is a member of District 1461. The elder Shreve says that his son “joined the military to serve his country, get an education and start a career,” and that his family is “very proud of him.”

U.S. Marine Sgt. Ernesto Silva, Jr., is a physical security specialist with the Military Police. He is 24, single and is stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. His father, Ernesto Silva, is a member of Lodge 6578 in Chicago, Illinois.

U.S. Army Reservist SFC Dell Spier, 58, is a convoy driver with the 308th Transportation Group and a member of District 471 in Lincoln, Nebraska. A former district President, Spier has been serving active duty in Kuwait and Iraq since February 2004. The Lincoln resident has been a member of TCU since 1968 and a member of the Army Reserves for more than 20 years. Currently stationed at Camp Arfijan in Kuwait, Spier makes supply runs into Iraq. His wife, Judy, his daughter, Heather, and two grandchildren await his scheduled return to the U.S. in February.

U.S. Army National Guard SPC Scott Steppe, a member of Lodge 6476 in Laurel, Montana, has been called to active duty. He is a carman with the Montana Rail Link and has been a member of TCU for six years. Steppe, 30, is being deployed to Fort Riley, Kansas, for two years with possible deployment to Iraq. He has served a total of eight years in the military, with three years active duty as a multiple launch rocket system crew member. He currently is a cannon crew member but will be reclassing to Military Police Officer. “I joined the military because I felt obligated to serve and it is a family tradition,” Steppe says. “My brother served in Desert Storm, my father in Vietnam, my grandfather in the Korean War and my great-great grandfather in the Civil War.” Steppe and his wife, Dena, have two daughters and a son.

U.S. Navy E-5 Daniel Tarango, 35, is a reservist who has been activated and a member of Lodge 6601. He is with the Seabees and is currently assigned to Port Hueneme, California. Brother Tarango is married and is a Union Pacific car inspector residing in El Paso, Texas, when not on active duty.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Marcus Weisbarth, 22, is serving with the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Marines in Iraq. He is the son of Grand Lodge Organizer Don Weisbarth and Barbara Weisbarth, both members of District 1097. Cpl. Weisbarth and his wife Rachael are expecting their first child in August.

U.S. Marine Cpl. David Weiss is currently serving in Iraq as a mechanic. He is the son of longtime Lodge 763 member Paul and Lorelei Weiss of Omaha, Nebraska. He is single.



Heros & Heroines Among Us

Among the brave men and women who have been sent to fight for freedom in Iraq are some who are members of TCU. Others are the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, or others in the families of TCU members.

They all deserve our respect and gratitude. They should know how proud we are of their courage. Let’s tell the world about the special people among us and let them know they are part of a TCU family that cares about them, thanks them, honors them and prays for their swift and safe return.

If you or a loved one should be included in this tribute, please send information and a photograph by mail to “TCU Heros & Heroines,” TCU, 3 Research Place, Rockville, MD 20850. (Click here for a copy to print) Here’s what to send:

• The individual’s name, age, job and marital status
• His or her rank and where assigned to duty
• The name and lodge or district number of the related TCU member
• The relationship of the person in the military and the TCU member
• The name of the person submitting the information if it is not the involved TCU member
• A current photograph (if possible in uniform)
• Other related information such as the individual’s reflections on the experience, reasons for joining the military, etc.