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- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Army Capt. John Tinsley
Died August 12, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom
28, of Tallahassee, Fla.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Aug. 12 at Firebase Cobra, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.
La. soldier killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan
The Associated Press
HOUMA, La. — An Army Green Beret killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was from Houma.
Capt. John Tinsley, 28, died Aug. 12 in Oruzgan province in central Afghanistan, after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, according to an Army spokesman.
Tinsley, a graduate of Vandebilt High School and Florida State University, was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, commonly called the Green Berets, based in Fort Bragg, N.C.
A former teacher and classmate recalled him as a quiet, considerate and confident student committed to others.
“He was one of my model students, that’s why I remember him so well,” said Margie Duplantis, who taught Tinsley religion his senior year and worked with him in the campus ministry. “One that had a heart of gold.”
Duplantis, who teaches 130 students a year, said Tinsley stood out.
“He always went against the flow,” said Duplantis, who has taught at Vandebilt for 20 years. “He didn’t follow his peers. He always did what he felt was morally right. If someone was doing something wrong and they wanted him to be a part of it, he wouldn’t be a part of it. Even if it meant him standing up alone.”
Duplantis said Tinsley took charge of his class Christmas project, raising money for needy families.
“If he could do anything to help anyone out, he did,” she said. “He challenged his friends to be better.”
Rodney Burns Jr., 28, a Houma building contractor, graduated from Vandebilt with Tinsley.
“He was a good kid, and from what I was told, he became a great man,” Burns said.
Burns said Tinsley left behind a wife and young daughter.
“I always thought there’d be a time when I’d get to talk to him again,” he said.
Tinsley remembered as caring friend
By Matt Gilmour and Julia Thompson
Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat via Gannett News Service
Before becoming a highly decorated captain in the Army, John Tinsley had already made his mark as a caring friend who was dedicated to the service of others.
Eric Lundblom, who knew Tinsley when they were members of the National Guard with the 124th Infantry Alpha Company in Tallahassee, recalled watching this “quiet kid” blossom from a cadet with Florida State University’s Army ROTC program to an officer who paid the “ultimate sacrifice” for his country.
“He turned into a leader of men,” Lundblom said of Tinsley, a Green Beret and recipient of the Purple Heart, among numerous other awards and decorations.
Tinsley, 28, was killed Aug. 12 by an improvised explosive device strike to his vehicle during a routine patrol in the Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan while serving with company B of 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group. He is survived by his wife, Emily Tinsley, and daughter, Isabella, of Fayetteville, N.C., and parents Debra and John Tinsley of Jacksonville.
Tinsley graduated from Vanderbilt Catholic High School in Houma, La., in 1998. Lisa Vegas, director of public relations at the school and Tinsley’s eighth-grade language-arts teacher, said she remembers Tinsley being relatively quiet but that he stepped up to take charge of a service project his senior year.
“He wanted to serve others, and that’s what he’s done since then,” she said.
Members of his high-school class have been talking about ways to honor him and will likely make a contribution to the high-school’s endowment fund in Tinsley’s memory.
“It’s affected everyone in his class,” Vegas said.
Tinsley began attending FSU in 1998 and graduated with a degree in criminology. On Aug. 15, FSU President T.K. Wetherell said “The Florida State University community joins Capt. Tinsley’s family, friends and colleagues in mourning his loss.
“[Tinsley’s] courage in choosing to defend his country stands as an example for all of us,” Wetherell said. “We owe so much to the heroism of Capt. Tinsley, Capt. Scott Speicher and all of the many Florida State men and women who have sacrificed and served this nation.”
Tallahassee resident Jason White, who was in the Chi Phi fraternity with Tinsley, remembered him as a “genuine person.” White said he and Tinsley bonded over a mutual interest in martial arts, sometimes spending nights on the back deck of the fraternity house messing around and teaching each other what they knew.
“He was a great guy,” White said. “Some people thought he was a little rough around the edges, but once you got to know him he was one of the best guys you could ever be around. He cared for all of the brothers.”
White said one time he and Tinsley went to Potbelly’s and stayed out late the night before they had to go on an early-morning 5K run. Tinsley insisted that White stayed at his place so he could make sure White would wake up on time.
“That’s just the kind of the guy he was,” White said. “He would do whatever he could do to help you out.”
Green Beret loved martial arts
The Associated Press
John Tinsley and his buddy used to hang out on the back deck of their fraternity house, the two martial arts lovers teaching each other different moves.
“Some people thought he was a little rough around the edges,” said Jason White, who was in the Chi Phi fraternity with Tinsley at Florida State University. “But once you got to know him, he was one of the best guys you could ever be around. He cared for all of the brothers.”
Tinsley 28, of Tallahassee, Fla., was killed by a roadside bomb Aug. 12 in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan. He was a Green Beret assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. He was in FSU’s ROTC program before becoming a full-time soldier.
A former teacher said he was also a serious student who never backed down from doing what was morally correct.
“He always went against the flow,” said Margie Duplantis, who taught Tinsley religion at Vandebilt High School in Houma, La., and worked with him in the campus ministry.
“If someone was doing something wrong and they wanted him to be a part of it, he wouldn’t be a part of it, even if it meant him standing up alone.”
Tinsley is survived by his wife, Emily; daughter, Isabella; and parents, Debra and John Tinsley.
Tinsley gets Arlington burial
The Associated Press
HOUMA, La. — An Army Special Forces officer from Houma who was killed in Afghanistan this month will be laid to rest Sept. 3 in Arlington National Cemetery.
The Army said Capt. John Tinsley, 28, died Aug. 12 in central Afghanistan after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle.
Tinsley was a 1998 graduate of Vandebilt High School and went on to Florida State University. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, commonly called the Green Berets, Fort Bragg, N.C.
A memorial fund at a Cincinnati bank was set up for his daughter, Isabella.
Donations can be mailed to the attention of Nick Konernan at PNC Bank, 5916 Cheviot Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45247.