Sunday, July 14, 2024

Tuplings honored at Mansfield Veterans Day assembly

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MANSFIELD – Veterans Day ceremonies at Mansfield High School last Friday, Nov. 9, honored two of its own as military veterans Thomas and Cassidy Tupling were the honored recipients of special veterans’ quilts made by members of the Columbia River Quilt Guild.

Thomas Tupling enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an E-1 on Sept. 11, 2000, one year before the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center twin towers and one month prior to the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Tupling won quick promotions to E-2 for outstanding performance in basic training, and E-3 as distinguished and honor graduate of his 14-week Naval Construction Training course. His achievements allowed Tupling his choice of duty stations and he selected Misawa Japan Naval Air Station. The VQ-1 squadron there made headlines when an EP-3 surveillance aircraft crew was captured by the Chinese after a collision with a Chinese interceptor fighter forced the Americans to make an emergency landing in Chinese territory.

Tupling was promoted to E-4 after a year of service and was serving in public works and security in Japan when 9/11 occurred.

Following his second year of service, Tupling, switched to Naval Mobile Construction and was deployed to Iraq. On a second deployment to Iraq, Tupling, now an E-5, was assigned to operate a Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) MK36 wrecker, a 6x6 beast complete with an MK19 grenade launcher mounted on the roof. Traveling from Kuwait in darkness using night vision goggles Tupling’s convoy would cross into Iraq to sites from Baghdad to the Syrian border performing various tasks from bulldozing streets in Falluja to blocking roads on the Jordanian border.

Following another full deployment, Tupling took some R&R in Guam before returning to California in time for Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and another deployment to the Southeast U.S. Following a final deployment to Okinawa, Tupling was honorably discharged in September 2006.

Tupling served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He received the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Seabee Combat Warfare pin, and Presidential Unit Citation among other decorations. He also earned the Expert Rifle and Pistol badge, qualified on the 50-caliber and 7.62mm M240 machine guns, MK19 grenade launcher, and other small arms.

Cassidy Tupling joined the Air force in January 2007 and completed boot camp at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. After further training at Port Hueneme Naval Base in Oxnard, Calif., he was stationed at Hurlburt Field in Mary Esther, Florida.

Tupling six months in both Kuwait and Baghdad, Iraq handling base vehicle repair and day-to-day operations. The harsh conditions required dedicated, knowledgeable mechanics to keep vehicles in order and round-the-clock was often needed because the vehicles could not be out of service for any extended period. Tupling also dealt with hazardous materials and safety issues to protect both mechanics and the environment.

Tupling was honorably discharged in March 2011. He was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with one service star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Air Force Overseas Ribbon.

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