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Starke County Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

January 8, 2012

01/09/12 The Indiana National Guard said Saturday four soldiers with an Indiana-based National Guard unit died in Afghanistan when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb. A Starke County man, Specialist Robert J. Tauteris Jr., of Hamlet was among those killed in action.

According to Indiana Adjutant General Martin Umbarger, the four members of the Valparaiso-based 713th Engineer Company were clearing roadside bombs along a supply route in southern Afghanistan Thursday morning when their vehicle struck one of the bombs.

A fifth soldier was injured in the blast north of Kandahar and was airlifted to a military hospital in Germany.

Robert Tauteris grew up in North Judson. His family calls him “Bobby” and says he was truly a family man. Before joining the National Guard, Robert often worked 7 days a week to provide for his two sons, Robert III and Matthew.

“He loved his kids,” said his uncle, Edward Tauteris. “He lived for his kids.”

Edward says love that strong is hard to put into words. So, Bobby showed it with his actions and decided to join the National Guard at the same time as his son, Robert III.

“They told me he reenlisted to keep an eye on his boy,” Edward said.

Bobby ended up passing his physical before his son and was sent to Afghanistan once on his own. He reenlisted when his son passed the physical.

Bobby had been in Afghanistan since October and was scheduled to come home for a couple weeks in May.

His family found out about his death on Friday and will be bringing him home to Starke County in the next few days.

“It was a shock,” Edward said. “It was a shock that something like that happened. You hear about it all the time and never think it’s going to happen around here. It was quite a shock to the family.”

Provided by our news partners at WSBT

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