First Sergeant Tobias C. Meister was born on Nov. 24, 1975, in Remsen, Iowa. He was a trained civil affairs non-commissioned officer assigned to the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, San Antonio, Texas.
He was killed in action south of Asadabad, Afghanistan, when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated near his Humvee during combat patrol operations Dec. 28, 2005.
A resident of Jenks, Oklahoma, Meister entered the Iowa Army National Guard on a split-option enlistment in 1992, two years before graduating from Remsen-Union Community High School, Remsen, Iowa.
After both basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in August 1994, Meister’s first duty assignment was with Company A, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 133rd Infantry, Iowa National Guard. One month later, he was promoted to corporal.
In 1996, Meister completed the first of many military professional development courses at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, when he graduated from the NCO Professional Leadership Development Course. Later that same year he was promoted to sergeant and participated in an overseas training event between his unit, the 3rd Battalion (mechanized), 144th Infantry Regiment, and the German 5th Company, Panzergrenadierbataillon 152.
Meister transferred to the Texas Army National Guard in 1998 before joining the 1st Battalion, 355th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Division (Institutional Training), Fort Worth, Texas, where served as an Army Reserve drill sergeant.
Immediately after graduation from the University of Texas in 1999, Meister was accepted into 95th Division’s Drill Sergeant School, Okla. City, Oklahoma. During this six-month school, Meister’s perseverance earned him the Excellence in Fitness Award when he scored 356 points – out of a possible 300 – on the Army Physical Fitness Test.
Additionally, he successfully completed the Master Fitness Trainer Course and graduated in the top 20 percent of his drill sergeant class, placing him on the commandant’s list. By graduation in January 2000, he had earned a promotion to staff sergeant.
Meister served as a drill sergeant for the next four years with the 95th Division. He attained his senior drill sergeant status, enlisted for a second term, and graduated from several Army courses, including the Army Combatives Course, two non-commissioned officer professional development courses and the Army Combat Lifesaver Course.
In 2002, he was promoted to sergeant first class and was awarded the U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year award.
In early 2004, Meister transferred to the 486th Civil Affairs Battalion, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, where he served as a civil affairs team sergeant. He graduated from both the Civil Affairs Reclassification Course and the Army First Sergeants Course.
He arrived at the 321st CA Brigade, San Antonio, Texas, February 2005, where he was promoted to master sergeant, and then accepted the position as first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company. He deployed shortly thereafter in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the summer of 2005.
Meister’s military training included the Basic Infantryman Course, the Air Assault Course, Drill Sergeant Course, Professional Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, First Sergeant’s Course, the Civil Affairs Reclassification Course, the Master Fitness Course, the Army Combatives Course and the Combat Lifesaver Course.
His awards included two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, three Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with numeral three device, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge, the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge and the German Marksmanship Badge. Meister also earned the Ralph Haines Jr. Award for his drill sergeant achievements.
His posthumous awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device and 10-year Bronze Hour Glass Device, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Combat Action Badge.
Meister’s civilian education included a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas, and in his civilian occupation, he worked for Horizon Natural Resources, an independent oil and gas company, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A former middleweight Golden Gloves champion in Dallas, Texas, Meister also had an undefeated career in kickboxing.
First Sergeant Meister is survived by his wife, Alicia and his son, William of Jenks, Oklahoma. He is also survived by his parents, David and Judy, of Jenks, Oklahoma.