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Indiana National Guard Spc. Robert Tauteris Jr. - Fallen Bronze Star Medal RecipientLA CROSSE, Ind. (1/16/2012) - Indiana National Guard Spc. Robert Tauteris Jr., 44, of Hamlet, Ind., was laid to rest Sunday, Jan. 14, 2012, in La Crosse, Ind., in a full military honors with family, Indiana National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Tauteris was a combat engineer with Indiana's 713th Combat Engineers, headquartered in Valparaiso, Ind. He and three of his fellow soldiers were killed Jan. 6 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Also killed in the attack were; Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Metzger, 32, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Spc. Christopher A. Patterson, 20, of Aurora, Ill.; Spc. Brian J. Leonhardt, 21, of Merrillville, Ind.

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

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels presents Matthew Tauteris' father's Bronze Star Medal, awarded posthumously, Jan. 15, 2012, in North Judson, Ind. Mathew's father, Spc. Robert Tauteris, 44, of Hamlet, Ind., was killed in action in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2012. Photo by Army Sgt. John Crosby
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels presents Matthew Tauteris' father's Bronze Star Medal, awarded posthumously, Jan. 15, 2012, in North Judson, Ind. Mathew's father, Spc. Robert Tauteris, 44, of Hamlet, Ind., was killed in action in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Jan. 6, 2012. Photo by Army Sgt. John Crosby
 The Indiana National Guard is America's finest, reflected in its numbers, leadership, but mostly in the quality of the men and women it comprises,” said Daniels. “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.”

“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of these brave citizen-soldiers,” said Umbarger. “I continue to be humbled and honored by the courageousness of gallant young men and women who wear the uniform of this nation, willingly going into harm's way, to protect and defend our freedoms and the freedom of others. We will honor their sacrifice and always remember them.”

The Indiana National Guard has directed full attention and resources to support the
families and will defer to their wishes concerning media engagement.

More photos available in frame below

By Army Sgt. John Crosby
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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