02/17/12 Thursday, Congressman Joe Donnelly spoke on the House floor to honor late Indiana National Guardsman, Specialist Robert J. Tauteris, Jr., who died while serving in Afghanistan. Robert’s two sons, Robert J. III and Mathew, and his daughter-in-law, Kayla, watched Donnelly’s speech from the gallery in the House chamber. Watch Donnelly’s floor speech here.


Watch Donnelly’s floor speech here.

Robert of Hamlet, Indiana had already served one tour in Afghanistan with the National Guard, when he volunteered for his second deployment after his son, Robert Tauteris III, enlisted. Father and son left together for Afghanistan in the fall of 2011, and after Robert’s death, Robert J. III accompanied his father’s body home to Dover Air Force Base.

“We owe Specialist Robert J. Tauteris, Jr. a debt of gratitude for his service and sacrifice,” said Donnelly. “It’s clear from the fact that he volunteered for his second deployment after his son enlisted that he loved his country and his family enormously. Our hearts go out to his family and friends as they mourn his passing and continue to honor the life he led.”

Robert died along with three of his fellow soldiers on January 5, 2012 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained when their vehicle was hit by a roadside improvised explosive device as they scouted for bombs and potential problems along a major supply route.

Robert’s posthumous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal, and Army Achievement Medal.  He also earned the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with the Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Combat and Special Skill Badge, Basic Marksmanship Qualification Badge, and the Overseas Service Bar.

Robert is survived by his sons Robert J. III and Mathew, his father, Robert J. Tauteris, his sister, Tammy Tauteris Smith, brother, Thomas, half-brother Darrel Ray Minix, and step-mother Nichelle, as well as extended family and many friends.