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Army Sgt. Patrick S. Tainsh, 33; Killed in Blast

Times Staff Writer

Surfing the waves of North Carolina as a young boy and Oceanside as a teenager, Sgt. Patrick S. Tainsh developed a special connection with the sea.

This week, the 33-year-old soldier’s ashes will be scattered off the North Carolina coast in the same spot chosen by his mother, who died of cancer.

Tainsh was killed Feb. 11 when an improvised explosive device detonated next to his vehicle in Baghdad. According to accounts that military officials gave his family, Tainsh exchanged gunfire with anti-American insurgents after he was injured in the explosion.

Deborah Tainsh, his stepmother, said the family was told that Tainsh fired 400 shots from two weapons and saved the lives of 12 men. She said military officials are recommending that Tainsh receive the Silver Star.

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As of Friday, 543 American servicemen and women had been killed in Iraq, 405 of them since major fighting ended May 1. Tainsh, a gunner assigned to Troop E, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Ft. Polk, La., is one of 62 soldiers with ties to California who have died.

Born in Virginia while his father, David Tainsh, was stationed there as a Marine, Tainsh began surfing when he was 8. At 13, he moved to Oceanside with his family after his father was transferred to Camp Pendleton.

Four years ago, Tainsh joined the Army. While stationed at Ft. Polk, he met Tracy Idiaquez, a 31-year-old teacher and Army reservist who was later deployed to Afghanistan. They planned to become engaged in March.

On Friday, the Tainsh family held a memorial in Columbus, Ga. They will scatter his ashes off Cape Hatteras and place his headstone at Ft. Benning, Ga.

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Tainsh also is survived by a stepbrother, Phillip Moore of Columbus, Ohio; and his grandmother, Edith Knight of Miami.


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