Army Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz
Died May 18, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
43, of Waterloo, Wis.; assigned to Headquarters, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died May 18 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing. Also killed were Col. John M. McHugh, Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman and Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson.
(The following was taken from www.greenbaygazette.com of May 20, 2010) WATERLOO — An Army officer from southern Wisconsin who was among five American soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan was remembered Thursday as a man who had been an
average student in high school but found his niche in the military.
Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, 43, of Waterloo, had been assigned to the headquarters of the 10th Mountain Division, Light Infantry, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., Army officials said. He arrived at the northern New York post in June.
“When they say these wars have taken the very best and brightest of our country, Paul’s a great example of that,” Richard Jones, his former history teacher at Waterloo High School, told the Daily Times of nearby Watertown. “A lot of kids in school just haven’t found their niche and he was an example of that. ... I am so impressed with what he accomplished in his life.”
The five U.S. soldiers were among 18 people killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber struck the convoy in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Besides Bartz, the U.S. casualties included a full colonel and another lieutenant colonel, along with a Canadian colonel.
Casualties among senior officers are uncommon.
The deaths are a “heartbreaking loss” for the division and the Fort Drum community, said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister, the division’s deputy commanding general for operations.
Bartz is survived by his wife and son, his parents, a brother, two sisters and several nieces and nephews.
Calls to Bartz’s parents and wife were not immediately returned Thursday. Bartz’s wife asked that the family not speak to the media, said Lt. Col. Loren Klemp of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Bartz grew up in Waterloo, a community of about 3,300 in southern Wisconsin some 25 miles east of Madison. The 1985 graduate of Waterloo High School returned in 2006 to speak to Jones’ class.
Jones said Bartz told his students his initial goals after high school were to buy a car, get a job and drink. He said those plans quickly changed after his father talked him into going to college. He graduated in 1989 from the University of
Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he was in Army ROTC, and began a successful military career.
“He easily could have been in the Pentagon on 9/11. He said he just happened to be out of the office that day and knew a lot of people that had been killed there,” Jones said. “When he was telling the story, he had to pause and fight back tears.”
Jones said Bartz also told them that he sat in on a meeting that included him, President George W. Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and one other person before the official decision was made to start the war in Iraq. He relayed the story as an example of what an average person from their small town could become.
Bartz was also home last December when he gave a presentation at St. John’s Lutheran Church.
“He shared his extensive military career, perspective on the war and places he had served. He attended St. John’s Lutheran grade school when he was growing up,” the Rev. Tom Wilsmann told the Daily Times. “He was a very interesting person.”
Elaine Baumann, a close friend of the Bartz family, told the newspaper he was planning to retire in two years but was determined to advance in rank before
Bartz was a highly decorated soldier, receiving the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal and Army Achievement Medal.