Army Sergeant Will Join Cadets’ Ranks In Colorado

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“This I believe (know)…
I watched my 10 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Helicopters fly away today, mass formation, to Texas to be loaded on the ship for Iraq.
I will get on an airplane and follow shortly. Bags are packed, weapon is clean, spirit is motivated.
I am a father, brother, son and husband. But more than anything, I am a warrior.
I will take the great life lessons I learned from performing, teaching and judging, as well as Soldiering, and apply them over the next year and a half in the desert.
I will not complain because I have already eaten my share of cold food, been hot, slept on the floor, and pushed myself to exhaustion – in a drum and bugle corps.
I will defend the right of choice and freedom. I will take this defense to the enemy who wishes us not to have the pageantry and creative choices that come with corps, band, music, life in general.
I will lie down, bleed to death and die if I have to for what I believe in.
That’s what I believe.”

Sgt. Timothy L. Tilley

In the weeks that follow Sgt. Timothy Tilley’s participation as an honorary Cadet, the soldier of 19-years will deploy for his second tour in the Middle East. Again he will leave behind his wife and three children – Michael, Gabriella and Blake – to serve his country.

Tilley is the 20th winner in the Cadets’ “This I Believe” Essay Contest. He will join the corps on Saturday, July 28 when they perform in Drums Along the Rockies in Denver, Colo. He submitted his essay to Cadets Director George Hopkins, noting his disappointment with the criticism heaped onto the corps for its approach to new concepts.

“I’m really frustrated, as so many are, by the single mindedness of the masses that reject the Cadets’ approach this year, and other years, in general,” wrote Tilley. “I really value what you add to this experience called drum and bugle corps. Win, lose or draw, the contribution you’ve made as a leader will be your hallmark.”

“Achieving excellence is worth an A. Helping someone else achieve excellence is worth an A-plus,” concluded Tilley in his essay.

Tilley credits much of his success and acclamation to the military life to his time as a member of Spirit of Atlanta, where he marched in 1988. Originally from Columbus, Ga., Tilley now resides with his family in Colorado Springs, Colo. He is the platoon sergeant for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Helicopter Platoon, also known as the Mighty Crusader Troop. The helo platoon is part of the 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division based in Ft. Carson, Colo.

Deployments for Tilley are not unusual. The career Army man has served in the Middle East region as part of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and also in Bosnia, Germany and South Korea. But once his upcoming “age-out” tour (as he refers to it) in Iraq is complete, Tilley intends to retire and remain stateside with his family.

The squadron has been training for the Iraq mission for eight months, Tilley said.

“I’m not looking forward to leaving my family, but I have an important job to do: safeguard my soldiers and accomplish my mission so that my brothers and sisters and I can get back to the country and families we love,” said Tilley.

His colorful career has led to many fascinating assignments, including work at the Pentagon, and as a protocol non-commissioned officer for the 7th Infantry Division. But to Tilley, nothing in his career has filled him with more pride than serving as a platoon sergeant.

To watch “soldiers grow and mature as cavalrymen and women and seeing the mission accomplished from the soldier’s level” is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.

Spending the day with the Cadets in Denver, then later marching onto the field as part of the classic corps’ block will be a memory he will always cherish.

“Wow! What an honor to spend this time with the Cadets,” Tilley said.

Posted by on Saturday, July 28th, 2007. Filed under DCI World.