Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tyler Seideman remembered

He was a good athlete and student, happy and active, and wanted to build a log cabin with his best friend when they got home from Iraq.

That is how people who knew Tyler Seideman describe him.

He was among 14 U. S. soldiers killed Wednesday when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in northern Iraq. Gail True, the mother of his best friend, confirmed that he was killed in the crash.

The Department of Defense would not release his name.

Defense officials do not release such information until 24 hours after family members have been notified, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Withington, Department of Defense spokesman.

Seideman was the son of Bill and Lee Ann Seideman of Lincoln. He was 20.

"They want to extend their sympathy to other families. They’re not alone because there’s 13 other families that are in the same situation right now," said family friend Joanie Hannah, speaking for the Seidemans, who did not wish to comment further.

True said Seideman and her son, Logan Biswell, who is serving in Iraq, were best friends in high school.

Both were 2004 graduates of Lincoln High School, Biswell having joined the U. S. Army before Seideman, who joined after attending the University of Arkansas for a while.

Biswell has been in Iraq for the past 15 months, his mother said, while Seideman had been serving in Iraq for about a year. They were both snipers but not in the same unit. Seideman was set to return to the United States in October for a short while, she said, before having to return to Iraq in January.

The helicopter crashed before dawn in the Timim province, which surrounds Kirkuk, about 180 miles north of Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly, a military spokesman in northern Iraq. The four crew members and 10 passengers were assigned to Task Force Lightning. Officials suspect the crash was the result of a mechanical problem, not hostile fire.

Linda Ferguson, Seideman’s English and drama teacher in high school, described his last trip home.

"He came back to visit here when he was on leave," Ferguson said. "He came to the school, came to visit all of his teachers. He was very proud of what he was doing. He was just great."

She said he played Daddy Warbucks in the school’s presentation of "Annie” his senior year.

"He was a great kid. He was real outgoing, very charming, a jokester, smart — real smart," Ferguson said. "He was an athlete. He played football. He played baseball. Very popular."

Ed Marshall, who teaches world history and world cultures at Lincoln High School, described Seideman as a good student and "a very good athlete."

"He kept all the irons in the fire," Marshall said. "He was not only a student of mine, he was a good friend."

He said Seideman was a hard worker and "very competitive," as well as a "standup guy” who never gave up.

Marshall, too, described Seideman’s last trip home.

"He came back and thanked us for everything," Marshall said. "He was absolutely a caring person."

True described him as a happy and active young man.

"He was always up for fun," she said. "He loved sports. He was out doing something all the time."

She said he enjoyed "anything that had to do with the outdoors. He was a big fisherman, and he liked to hunt and camp."

Marshall said he plans to do some kind of memorial at Lincoln High School for Seideman, but will wait and consult with the family about it.

He and Johnny Williams, who teaches advanced placement social studies and other classes at the high school, have been instrumental in starting a memorial program in which compact discs are used to memorialize U. S. soldiers who have died in the ongoing military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One side of each CD is covered with black paper. The other side is reflective, and red, white and blue ribbon hangs from each disc. The name of the person who died and the date he or she died are on each disk.

"He was real familiar with the memorial," Marshall said of Seideman. "I’m sure he never thought his name would be up there."

He said Seideman will be missed.

"It’s difficult for all of us," he said. "Our hearts and prayers are with the family. I’ve heard many a teacher say the exact same thing today. We need to be very respectful of their wishes."

From the Arkansas Times

Related Link:
Tyler R. Seideman dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'