View Full Version : Silver Star: Colo. GI risked all

06-16-07, 09:19 AM
Silver Star: Colo. GI risked all
By Kieran Nicholson
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 06/15/2007 10:53:08 AM MDT (http://test.denverpost.com/extremes/ci_6144362)

Shot eight times, Sgt. Robert Betterton was pinned down by machine-gun fire in an Iraq irrigation ditch with rockets and hand grenades exploding around him. He thought his life would end there.

Then platoon leader Lt. David Tiedeman, using his handgun to provide a little cover fire, rushed to the ditch and jumped in next to Betterton.

"I tried to implore him to abandon me," Betterton said. "I didn't feel like he was sufficiently armed."

But Tiedeman would have none of it.

"He told me, 'I'm not going to leave you here,"' Betterton recalled. "'I'm going to stay here with you and we'll fight it out together."'

Both survived the wicked, close- range combat about 25 miles east of Baghdad on April 4, 2005.

This week, Tiedeman, 40, an Army reservist from Watkins, received word from the U.S. Army that he will receive the Silver Star for his life-saving actions.

"I'm honored. I'm not really used to all the attention," Tiedeman said. "I support the cause, and I support all the veterans over there."

Tiedeman and Betterton were with a group of 24 U.S. soldiers and about 200 Iraqi soldiers whom they were training, searching for a weapons cache south of Balad Ruz.

The joint force drove into a desolate area of rows of mostly dried-out canal beds and irrigation ditches.

"We were taking a lot of fire," Tiedeman recalled. "Since we were taking so much fire, one of my guys (Betterton) decided to go down and clear the trench. He ended up getting pinned down."

The day of the battle, Tiedeman left his rifle behind when he rushed into the ditch because he knew he was going to have to carry Betterton to safety, Betterton said.

Tiedeman threw a hand grenade at the position where the enemy fire was coming from and a Humvee drove into the fire line, its gunner laying heavy fire at close range on the insurgents.

It was the break the pair needed.

"The state of Colorado is lucky to have him," said Betterton, who is preparing to return to service in Iraq. "He did save my life, there is no doubt about that."

Two U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi soldiers were killed in the firefight. Seventeen insurgents were killed.

The Silver Star is bestowed on fewer than one in every 250 veterans of military service, according to an Army Human Resources Command website. Just more than 200 people have been awarded the Star since 2003 in the Iraq war.

Tiedeman, who served in the Marine Corps from 1986 to 1990, joined the Army Reserve in 2000.

"It's huge. I don't think he realizes how huge it is," said his wife of 21 years, Angie. "Or maybe it's just he's very humble about all of this."

Tiedeman has lived in Colorado since 1976. He's a graduate of Aurora's Hinkley High School, Community College of Aurora and Metropolitan State College of Denver.

He currently works with the Department of Homeland Security. The couple has two sons.

Tiedeman served with the 278th Regimental Combat Team based in Athens, Tenn., and Betterton with the 181st Field Artillery Battalion, based in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Tiedeman will receive his medal at the Pentagon, but he's not sure when it will happen.

"I'm waiting on the old command in Tennessee to give me a date and time," he said.

Betterton, who has recovered from gunshot wounds to his wrist, legs and abdomen, and another soldier, Sgt. Richard Stooksbury, also will receive medals for their service in the battle near Balad Ruz.

Tiedeman said: "I want it to happen when I can pin their awards on them."

08-28-07, 08:04 PM
I can now say my life is complete. I've made it into Leatherneck. Semper Fi brothers.

1LT Dave Tiedeman

08-29-07, 07:23 AM
Welcome Aboard!


08-29-07, 10:21 AM
Its an honor to have you aboard sir.

Semper Fi


SSgt Blue
09-05-07, 05:05 PM
Give Him one, Hell give him Two

09-05-07, 06:21 PM
I can now say my life is complete. I've made it into Leatherneck. Semper Fi brothers.

1LT Dave Tiedeman

Semper Fi brother. Next time you are in South Denver (Centennial) look me up, I think I might have enough money to buy your beer...