Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Tyler A Juden

Winfield, Kansas

September 12, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
23 Army Sgt

4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

Fort Bragg, North Carolina

 Killed in Turan, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fires.

From the blog of Sarah Juden thejudens.com 09/24/09:

"I haven’t been to many funerals in my short life, but I am sure that Tyler’s funeral is one that I will never forget. The patriotism shown by the small town of Arkansas City, KS (pronounced: Ar-KANSAS) would bring tears to any proud American’s eyes. Almost every sign in town honored Tyler or his family in some way."

From The Fort Scott Tribune .fstribune.com 09/23/09:

SGT. TYLER A. JUDEN
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Fort Scott Tribune

Sgt. Tyler A. Juden, 23, of Arkansas City, died Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 due to injuries received during active duty with the United States Army in Afghanistan.

Funeral services are scheduled for were at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009 at W.S. Scott Auditorium on the Campus of Cowley College in Arkansas City.

The family will greet friends 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Tyler was born Jan. 18, 1986, in Winfield to Robert D. and Reatha L. (Bruner) Juden.

He was reared and educated in Arkansas City, graduating from Arkansas City High School in 2004.

He was active in football and track. Tyler was involved in competitive shooting from a very young age. He attended NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico and also served as counselor.

Tyler continued his education at Cowley College. He entered the United States Army in 2004, and was currently assigned to Troop C, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Juden's awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Parachutist Badge and the Combat Infantry Badge.

Tyler attended the Maple City Christian Church. He was baptized along with his sister at the Dexter Christian Church, in June of 1996, by Pastor Norman Reeves.

Tyler was a member of the NRA and the Spencer-Ralston Post 1254 VFW.

Survivors include his parents Bob and Reatha of the home, a sister Jacey Juden of Arkansas City; grandparents Carrie and Don Elbrader of Fort Scott, Charles and Mary Bruner of Uniontown; great-grandmother Lois Bruner of Missouri; aunts and uncles Gary Bruner of Paola, Vicki Richardson of West Branson, Missouri, Terry and Linda Juden of St. Charles, Missouri, Steven and Christie Andrews of Arkansas City, Randy Juden of Denver, Dale and Tracy Adams of Udall, Troy Juden of Arkansas City and many other relatives, friends, and fellow soldiers.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents Dub and Lou Juden, an aunt Nancy Jones and an uncle Andy Juden.

The family has established Tyler Juden Youth Shooting Scholarship. This scholarship will send a Cowley County youth to NRA Whittington Center shooting camp in Raton, New Mexico. Contributions may be made through the funeral home.

Arrangements are being made through the United States Department of Defense and the Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home of Arkansas City.

Copyright 2009 Fort Scott Tribune. All rights reserved.

State to honor soldiers by lowering flags

The Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for two days to honor two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

The lowered flags will honor Cpl. Daniel Cox of Parson on Sept. 21 and Sgt. Tyler Juden of Winfield on Sept. 22. Both men were 23 when they died Sept. 12 in separate attacks.

Cox was killed in Wardak province when his unit came under attack from a roadside bomb and small arms fire.

Juden was killed when enemy forces attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire near Turan.

Parkinson says the thoughts and prayers of the entire state are with the men’s families, friends and communities. He added that their “bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Wanted to follow parents’ path in education

The Associated Press

Tyler A. Juden was never one to take the middle ground.

“He was passionate with his friends, his family and the things he loved,” said his father, Bob Juden. “He loved the things he loved and hated the things he hated.”

Juden, 23, of Winfield, Kan., died Sept. 12 during an attack involving rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire in Turan, Afghanistan.

Juden was known inside and outside the military for his shooting expertise, his family said.

It started with a BB gun he got for Christmas as a boy. By summer, he was shooting bees on the family farm.

He attended a shooting camp in New Mexico when he was 13 and returned the following year as an instructor, his father said. He went on to become a sniper and a squad leader in Afghanistan.

He was also a track athlete and started on the football team as a kicker in his freshman year at Arkansas City High School, where he graduated in 2004. He joined the Army the following year and was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C.

He was expecting to leave the Army when his enlistment ended in 2010 and planned to be a teacher like his parents.

Juden is also survived by his mother, Reatha, and sister, Jacey. 
The Cowley County News newscow.net 09/13/09:

Tyler Juden is killed in action in Afghanistan
By Shane Farley
September 13, 2009 - 9:06:06 pm
Army Sgt. Tyler Juden ? a Cowley County native described by his family as a dedicated, intense man who was "very good at what he did" ? died Saturday while serving in Afghanistan. He was 23.

News reports indicate American soldiers died during an orchestrated attack in the western part of the country that included rocket propelled grenades and artillery fire. Juden's family said they believe their son was riding in a vehicle at the time of the attack but so far specific information has not been available.

His parents, Bob and Reatha Juden, said their son had been concerned about riding in vehicles when heading out on missions. He thought troops together in a transport vehicle made an easy target for Taliban soldiers.

Snipers travel in pairs ? a shooter and a spotter ? for reconnaissance missions and Juden told his family he'd have rather walked away from the base on foot, to avoid drawing unneeded attention.

"He always said he'd just rather they 'give me my gun and let me go,''' Bob Juden said in an interview at the family's home midway between Winfield and Arkansas City.

The family eventually hopes to know as much as they can about their son's death.

"I want to hear what happened to my baby," Reatha Juden said. "But he was OK with being there. I know that."

Juden had spent about two months in country as part of his latest deployment and previously had served a 15-month stint in Afghanistan. He was a trained sniper and a squadron leader who had completed a number of missions while serving abroad, his family said.

But following the death of a fellow serviceman and friend, Juden had reconsidered pursuing a career in law enforcement once he left the military. He wanted to leave the Army when his time abroad was finished so he could return to school and become a teacher, like his parents.

"He told me he'd seen the last person through a scope that he wanted to see," Bob Juden said.

Juden had been in the military for nearly four years and during all his time in Afghanistan climbed in rank from Private First Class to Sergeant.

Following his first deployment, he had returned home for a visit and had been stationed in the United States for a time. He arrived back in Afghanistan earlier this summer.

When he was younger, Juden attended Ark City schools and was a good student, a good athlete and a "pretty intense" person, his father said. He was still close with a number of friends from the class of 2004 and kept in touch with them as he could.

Juden already had done some teaching in the military while training snipers for the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

In the field, Juden's job often called for him to be sitting patiently in cramped, remote locations for hours or days at a time, his parents said.

Reatha Juden said her son understood how some people viewed his work as a sniper but he always believed the job was important because it saved American lives.

"That's how he justified doing what he did," she said.

Tyler Juden has a sister, Jacey, who also attended Ark City schools. Jacey Juden had been away at school but joined her family at their home Sunday evening, where a number of family and friends had gathered.

She said she would always remember the many brave things her brother did in defense of the country.

"Heroes never die," she said.

Military officials visited the Juden home Saturday night to inform the Judens of their son's death.

From The Fayetteville Observer 03/06/09:

Watch, Wait, Kill: the Sniper at Work
March 06, 2009
Fayetteville Observer

The Soldiers decided it was time to take the Taliban out.

On a Sunday in November 2007, Army sniper Tyler Juden, his spotter and two command officers climbed out of a Humvee and trekked about seven kilometers in the dark.

Shortly before sunrise the next day, they set up their position near the Khyber Pass, an insurgent stronghold.

For more than a month, Juden and his fellow snipers had studied maps and traced the arcs of the Taliban mortars to determine that they had been fired -- like clockwork -- from a ravine about three stories below Juden's current location.

The enemy hadn't thought to change its firing position, or its timing.

So at 9 a.m. that Wednesday, Juden found himself lying on his belly behind his sniper rifle on a freezing patch of mountain. He stared down into the ravine, propped up on his elbows and waited almost motionless along with the rest of his team.

But 9 o'clock came and passed.

Had the enemy seen and avoided them? Was their map reconnaissance off?

Juden worried that the mission was a bust, but only briefly. About 9:30, his spotter bumped him to get his attention.

"I guess they slept in that morning," Juden said.

Three men with AK-47s on their backs walked down a path about 700 meters away.

Next came the easy part.

The spotter beside Sgt. Juden helped him adjust his aim for wind, distance, temperature and other factors. Juden readied his weapon, an M-110 semi-automatic sniper rifle.

Most Soldiers only squeeze a trigger while reacting to a threat.

But unseen and not threatened, Juden watched what he knew would be the last minutes of those three lives in the ravine.

Juden locked onto his target, the third man in line, as they walked away from his position. Juden had been trained to kill from the back of the line forward, so no one gets the warning of a man falling in front of him.

The commanders on this mission called in air support and artillery fire. Juden's job was to wait for the diversionary artillery blast to mask the sound of his rifle.

For what seemed like an eternity, Juden kept an eye on his target and his finger ready to squeeze. It was enough time to consider who these men were and whether they had families. But Juden stayed focused, his mind too busy calculating and recalculating for wind and distance with each step the target took.

The artillery boomed. Juden sent his bullet toward the man in back of the group and saw him fall. The sniper rarely sees the impact of the bullet. But the spotter watches through a scope and can trace the wake of the bullet and see it travel toward its target. Think of "The Matrix."

As he lined up a second shot, Juden's spotter told him that the bullet had smashed directly between the man's shoulder blades.

Before Juden could fire off another round, Apache helicopters arrived and mopped up the other two men, who had scattered at the sound of the artillery.

"We never took any more indirect mortar fire," Juden said. "It kind of let them know they're not safe even on their home terrain."

A special breed

Becoming an Army sniper requires a special breed. Juden said there's a certain intelligence and professionalism expected. The lone holdover from a seven-man team that deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, the 23-year-old Juden became the section leader last fall. In November, after about 20 men tried out for the jobs, he handpicked the six men who will accompany him as snipers in Troop C, 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The 4th Brigade has been training for weeks for a deployment later this year, possibly to Afghanistan.

The entire 82nd Airborne Division has maybe 100 snipers, 4th Brigade spokeswoman Maj. Michelle Baldanza said. It's a job that comes with a bit of swagger.

"People volunteer to be in infantry. People volunteer for Airborne," Juden said. "Everyone here was selected to be here. No one was assigned."

But the lifestyle isn't as glamorous as the title, he said. People write books and make movies about snipers, but the nitty-gritty of the job doesn't make its way into the public perception. It's not all long-range target practice on bad guys, Juden said.

"It all sounds great. It's great to be able to put a sniper tag on the front of your truck," he said. "Actually, when you go out and do it and you're sitting on a mountain for three days with limited food and water, it's not a whole lot of fun. It's not as appealing."

Marksmanship

It wouldn't be a stretch to say Juden spent most of his life training to be a sniper.

He fired his first shot as a 5-year-old boy in Arkansas City, Kan. His father used to take him along on hunting trips, where they'd kill quail or pheasants, turkey or deer.

For about as long as he can remember, he competed in marksmanship competitions.

In 2004, as a senior in high school, Juden won the south central regional long-range silhouette contest, defeating 20 competitors from six states who had won state competitions to earn their spots there.

He joined the Army in 2005, knowing he wanted to at least be in the infantry and dreaming of a spot on a sniper team.

He completed the required five weeks of Army sniper school at Fort Benning three years ago.

Juden said some snipers have trouble dealing mentally with this more intimate form of killing. As a sniper, he said, you can see a man's eye color or tell whether he recently shaved before you shoot him. It takes a certain mind-set and emotional stability to ensure there's no hesitation.

Juden remembers his first kill, when he was deployed to Afghanistan. He said it wasn't like he thought it would be afterward. It just felt like a mission that had to be done.

"You don't ever know if you're ready for it until that moment comes," he said. "For me, it was never a problem. I knew if I didn't do my job, they'd most likely be doing their job against one of my buddies later. That made it pretty easy for me to justify what we were doing."

Juden said his team completed more than 20 successful missions during its 15-month tour in Afghanistan. His elbows and knees felt like sandpaper when he got home.

That's not to say all 20 missions ended with enemy kills. Juden said he and his men all know their kill counts. How could they not? But he's not telling. A sniper is more than a trigger-man, he said.

"I don't think a sniper should be judged by the number of kills he has," he said.

Most of the job is about stealth and information gathering. New technology and gadgets allow the military to gather information from the sky in unmanned aircraft. But, Juden said, that doesn't make the sniper a relic of prior decades.

"When you think of sniper, you think of World War II," he said. "People think of snipers as outdated or kind of obsolete. But there's nothing like a two-man team of highly trained reconnaissance Soldiers who can make decisions and react to situations."
© Copyright 2011 Fayetteville Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

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