Iowa State alumnus receives Bronze Star Medal


Photo: Whitney Sager/Iowa State Daily

Tyler Bauman, second lieutenant in the Army Reserve, was awarded the Bronze Star medal for his service in Iraq. Bauman, a 2010 Iowa State alumnus, will be attending the College of Veterinary Medicine next fall.

Whitney Sager

Excellent leader. Very outgoing. Humble. Talented.

Military leaders use these words to describe the traits displayed by Tyler Bauman, second lieutenant in the Army Reserve and 2010 ISU alumnus.

It was because of these traits that Bauman was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Iraq.

The Bronze Star Medal, the fourth-highest U.S. Army award, is awarded to any person in the U.S. Army who has shown “heroic or meritorious achievement or service” while engaged in military actions against an opposing armed force, according to the U.S. Army Individual Decorations website.

On Bauman’s second tour of duty overseas, a mission for which he volunteered, he showcased the actions required to deem himself worthy of the distinguished award.

During the mission, Bauman was in charge of driving a heavily armored truck equipped with machine guns. He and his unit drove around, making a presence so people were discouraged from causing trouble.

“On our first mission, we were hit by a suicide bomber,” Bauman said.

Rather than backing down, Bauman said he and his unit kept going.

Due to his actions and the leadership he showcased during the special mission, Bauman was awarded the medal for his meritorious actions.

Bauman’s success in the military and as an ISU student does not stop there.

Benefits of service

Bauman said his service in the Army has helped him grow as an individual, both in and out of the classroom.

Before joining the Army, Bauman said he struggled with self-confidence and maturity levels. The leadership positions he held in the Army ROTC have helped him improve those areas.

Joel Soenksen, adjunct assistant professor of military science and tactics, said one of Bauman’s responsibilities in the ROTC was serving as a mentor for younger ROTC soldiers. Soenksen said Bauman helped the younger soldiers determine what classes to take and how to have proper military presence.

“He was very well thought of by his peers,” Soenksen said.

During the summer before Bauman’s senior year in college, he and other ROTC soldiers attended the Leadership Development and Assessment Course in Fort Lewis, Wash. During the course, soldiers were evaluated on their leadership development and GPA. Of the 4,700 soldiers in attendance, Bauman was ranked 67th for his displayed leadership skills and academic accomplishments.

Jay Soupene, professor and chairman of military science and tactics, said Bauman had the highest ranking out of the other soldiers from Iowa State’s ROTC program.

“It’s no question he was the most talented and outgoing student last year,” Soupene said.

Balancing service and school

The training Bauman received through the Army ROTC at Iowa State and the experiences he went through overseas helped him excel in his classes as an animal science student.

“That first week of classes, if I hadn’t been deployed, I wouldn’t have made it,” Bauman said. “I was struggling.”

After a year overseas, Bauman came back with a better sense of what he needed to do to be successful in school.

“When I came back, I had really matured and had a focus on classes,” Bauman said.

Bauman’s hard work and determination proved successful; he achieved a 4.0 GPA his first semester back after deployment.

“He’s more mature than the average student, just because he’s experienced so much,” Soupene said.

On top of his responsibilities in the classroom and the ROTC, Bauman was also involved in several clubs and taught some classes in the animal science program.

“I took every chance I could to get involved in the animal science program,” Bauman said.

Bauman graduated last May with a 3.9 GPA and was accepted into ISU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Plans for the future

Bauman will start vet school next fall, after he has completed Officer Basic School with the 949th Vet Med Company. He plans to work as a veterinarian, both for the military and as a civilian.

“It’s a new adventure and a new opportunity and I look to the chance to do that,” Bauman said.

Bauman said he enjoys being in the Army because it gives him a chance to serve both the country and the community.

“Any time an individual has the opportunity to give back to the community, they should do that,” Bauman said.

Bauman encourages other young men and women to enlist in the Army or other branches of the military. Educational benefits and personal development are two areas Bauman cites as advantages of enlisting in the service.

“There is not another club at Iowa State that can have as big of an impact as this one does,” Bauman said of the ROTC program.