Beloit solider dies in Afghanistan
Kreinz, 21, died Saturday in Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan, 7,000 miles from his home in Beloit.
He was a U.S. Army specialist and a tanker, serving with the U.S. Army’s 4th Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, of the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team based in Baumholder, Germany. Three other soldiers from the 4th Battalion died in the same accident.
His parents, David and Marilyn Kreinz of Beloit, were informed on Father’s Day.
“They said it was a roll-over accident,” David Kreinz told WCLO Radio. “We don’t know if it was a fire or a bomb or just a vehicle accident.”
Although Tyler was only 11 when Sept. 11 happened, the event changed his life.
“He’s been wanting to be in the military since 9/11,” Kreinz told WCLO. “You couldn’t change his mind about it.”
Tyler enjoyed baseball, football and kickboxing and loved being outdoors, his father said. He had planned to attend the UW-Stevens Point and become a conservation warden.
After graduating from Beloit Memorial High School in 2008, Tyler went to basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.
He wanted to be a tanker in an armor division. After basic training, he volunteered to stay behind to learn how to drive other vehicles such as the Stryker and the mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle.
Most of all, Tyler wanted to get those tanker boots.
The soldiers in the tank corps have a special version of combat boots with straps and buckles, explained George Wright, U.S. Army spokesperson.
“It’s a special distinction, a symbol of camaraderie and unit cohesion in the tank corps,” Wright said.
Kreinz told WCLO that his son “worked his butt off to get those boots.”
“He was so proud the day he got them,” Kreinz said.
The Kreinzes left Monday for Dover Air Force Base to receive their son’s body. He will be buried in Beloit, and funeral arrangements are pending.
Two brothers, Tanner, 19 and Grant, 9, also survive Tyler.