Local soldiers meet in Afghanistan
|The paths of LTC Daniel Teeter, left, and Specialist Riley Owen, crossed at a compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. Teeter is a 1990 graduate of Lassen High School, and Owen is a 2009 of Westwood Charter School. Photo submitted|
Oct. 16, 2012 — Two United States Army soldiers working at a small compound in Kabul, Afghanistan found they had something in common — they are both from Susanville.
LTC Daniel Teeter, a 1990 gradate of Lassen High School, served as the executive officer for the deputy commander for Support U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and managed and organized personal staff.
Riley Owen, a 2009 graduate of Westwood Charter School, has been in Afghanistan for three months working as part of a personal security detail team providing protective services for general officers.
According to Teeter, he introduced himself to the team and after telling another man in the unit he was from Susanville, he was informed Owen was from his hometown.
Teeter said, “I went out of my way to meet (Owen) and make sure he was taken care of.”
Of getting to meet Teeter, Owen said, “It was a nice break. We talked about the local area and how it’s changed from when he left.”
Owen enlisted in the Army in November 2009. He said he was chosen for the Afghanistan job because of his professionalism, how he maintained his training and how he presented himself to people as a military police officer prior to being deployed.
Owen said he has learned a lot since being stationed in Afghanistan and the culture, which he has had to adjust to, is interesting. Owen is left-handed but now waves hello with his right because using the left hand is offensive to the Afghani people. He also said there aren’t many traffic laws. “You barely see a stop sign or a traffic light,” he said.
And as a combat driver, he always has to be on guard.
Teeter has had a distinguished career as an armor officer and was released from Afghanistan early to prepare for his next assignment as battalion commander. He will be responsible for 800 soldiers’ health and welfare and will train and prepare them for future operations. His new group will also be returning from Afghanistan and won’t be ready to deploy — if required — until 2014.
After graduating from Lassen High, Teeter attended West Point and was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant in 1994. Originally, Teeter said he wanted to join the Air Force, but his explorer scout recommended applying to all of the military academies.
Teeter said he was also accepted to the Coast Guard, but chose West Point because there were better opportunities, and he felt he could do more than being in the Coast Guard.
He has traveled all over the world, with Korea being the farthest west and has also been deployed to Iraq.
“I’ve met lots of great people and had a very rewarding career,” Teeter said and explained he gets paid to do fun and interesting things, but the violent end is not what he’s talking about.
He said the training end is very fulfilling, taking a group of disparate people and training them so they can accomplish complex tasks.
Teeter has also served in airborne units, jumped out of planes and gets to work with the most complex up-to-date equipment that’s out there.
He said he will retire, “when it stops being fun.”
Owen joined the Army because, he said, “it felt like a higher calling.”
He explained he had a happy life going in Susanville with a job at Walmart and the opportunity to go to college.
But he joined the Army to better himself and to serve his country.
Owen said being in the military has given him a stronger foundation in life, direction in what he wants to do and a sense of accomplishment.
He is weighing the options of what he will do after serving in the Army. Owen said he is taking an online college course and one idea he is considering is a career with the Department of Fish and Game.
Owen is the son of Michelle Kramer and Steve Owen.
Teeter is the son of Margie and Larry Teeter.
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