The Bronze Star is presented to individuals who have performed a brave or praiseworthy act while serving in the United States military during times of combat.
Tyler Bauman is one of those individuals.
In 2002, as a freshman in animal science, Bauman was deployed to Kuwait after his first week at Iowa State University. There he managed Kuwait’s Ash Shuaybah Seaport. After his first tour, Bauman wanted to do more, so he volunteered for a second deployment to Iraq where he worked as a gun truck driver. He logged more than 30,000 accident-free miles during combat patrols.
Bauman received the Bronze star for his service in Iraq and reached the rank of staff sergeant.
“We had to outfit convoys with gun trucks for protection,” Bauman says. “We were a heavily outfitted patrol with a lot of weapons systems.”
Adapting to change was Bauman’s biggest challenge when he returned home. He says soldiers are focused on their job during deployment and remember home as their safe zone.
“A lot of people had changed and I had changed, but I expected everyone to be the same when I returned,” Bauman says. “I spent 19 years learning things one way and one year completely altered my perspective.”
Bauman, now a graduating senior, is the Cyclone Battalion Commander in the Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC). He understands the importance of helping juniors train for national rankings. In 2008, he was ranked 67 out of 4,700 ROTC students for his academic and leadership performance at the national level.
ROTC training is rigorous and demanding. From the daily runs to executing mission exercises in full combat gear, it’s all part of a program to develop discipline, Bauman says. At one ROTC training exercise in April, Bauman talked and joked with peers before exercises began. His demeanor became more serious when he had to address one of his cadets. He says undergraduates look up to him because he’s had combat experience.
“Having a combat patch has this effect on new cadets, they understand that I know what’s going on and I have experience,” Bauman says. “I’ve been exposed to war and I have realistic view about how the military works in a combat environment.”
Military training provided Bauman with the discipline and leadership skills he uses today. He says after returning to campus from his second deployment he was more focused and made the Dean’s list seven consecutive semesters. Bauman pursues the highest standards in everything he does. It’s resulted in a list of awards including this year’s Class of 2010 Wallace E. Barron All-University Senior Award and the L.N. Hazel Award.
Bauman’s passion is poultry science. In the sixth grade he brought eight chicks home from a school incubation project and he’s been fascinated ever since.
“I just love chickens. They are so simple,” Bauman says.
Collecting fresh eggs is part of Bauman’s daily routine. He may be one of the few egg producers in Ames. In a new garage, which he and his father built, you’ll find 16 laying hens in a spacious coop with an outdoor run. Bauman says one of the hens is blind, so he hand delivers her to a nest every evening.
Between studies, ROTC and serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant for two animal science classes, Bauman enjoys building and remodeling. He’s remodeled his home, fenced the yard, paved the driveway, built a garage and takes care of his chickens. He grew up on the edge of Adel, Iowa and picked up his skills working for his father at the grain elevator.
Bauman graduated in May with several honors he attributes to his nine years of service in the Army Reserves. Next fall Bauman will enter vet school at Iowa State. He plans to become a food animal veterinarian and he hopes to go into farming.