There's little doubt Toby Meister loved the Army and loved serving his country.
"He was on the fast-track," his uncle, Dale Rich, said. "He had just been promoted to First Sergeant."
Meister, 30, a native of Remsen and a 1994 graduate of Remsen-Union High School, was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan Wednesday, Dec. 28. The bombing that claimed his life also killed an Afghani civilian and injured two other U.S. soldiers.
"Dave and Judy, Toby's parents, are still trying to deal with all of it right now. We don't know a whole lot," Rich said. "Our only contact with the Army is through the sergeant who is responsible for making his arrangements. We're supposed to know a little more this (Thursday) afternoon."
Meister joined the Army while still two years removed from his high school graduation. After high school, he went on to the University of South Dakota, where he studied business.
"Toby had been taking tae kwon do lessons from Kevin Nelson in Sioux City," Rich said. "He eventually earned his black belt, which led to his being recruited for a job in Dallas."
Moving to Texas, he transferred his National Guard membership and never missed a drill or muster. In the meantime, he tried out kickboxing.
"He just kind of tried it out and found out he was pretty good at it," Rich said. "Right off the bat, he won the Dallas Golden Gloves."
A middleweight kickboxing title in 1996 was only the start. Meister went on to post an undefeated record as a kickboxer, but that was only the tip of the iceberg of his athletic prowess.
During the 2002 Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year competition, he won the two-mile run, and completed 100 push-ups and 114 sit-ups. He was named U.S. Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year.
After he graduated from the University of Texas-San Antonio with a degree in business in 1999, he went to work for Rich in his oil and natural gas business. Horizon Natural Resources, located in Tulsa, Okla., provided several career opportunities within the military, as well.
In the meantime, he met the love of his life: Alicia.
"They went out on a New Year's Eve date in 2001," Rich said. "They married just a couple of years ago -- May 3, 2003 -- and their son, Will, just turned a year old in August."
Maj. June Lantz, public affairs officer for the 95th, said Meister transferred to the 486th Civil Affairs Battalion in Broken Arrow, Okla., in March of 2004. The 486th is a division of the U.S. Army Special Operations, which is headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.
He was transferred to the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade in February of this year. He was shipped off to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom a short time later.
"I'm not sure as to the exact date, but I think he left for somtime in April," his aunt, Jan Meister of Kingsley, said. "His father sold his furniture business in Remsen and his mother retired from teaching so they could go down and help take care of his wife and their son."
Upon his arrival in Afghanistan, Meister went right to work in his specialty with a civil affairs unit. The unit was divided into two teams, each with distinct duties to assist in strengthening the credibility of the new Afghani government.
The CAT-A team Meister was assigned to was charged with bringing together tribal, regional and national leaders to discuss ways to improve the lives of everyday Afghanis. This work took part in Asadabad, the regional capital of the Kunar province.
Asadabad, located in the mountainous area of northeast Afghanistan, near the border with India, was a dangerous location to work. There, the Taliban still openly ruled the daily lives of the local population.
Details of what exactly happened remain sketchy, but the military has spoken with all of the members of Meister's family. According to reports from the local governor, a roadside bomb was remote detonated by Taliban rebels as an armored Humvee containing Meister's CAT-A team drove by.
Meister was killed instantly in the attack. In addition, an Afghani employed by the military was also killed and two other soldiers were wounded.
Flags in Kingsley and Remsen were lowered to half-staff during the day Thursday.
First Sgt. Tobias C. Meister was born on Nov. 24, 1975, in Remsen, Iowa. He entered the Iowa Army National Guard on a split-option enlistment in 1992, two years before graduating from Remsen-Union Community High School.
After both basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga., in August 1994, Meister's first duty assignment was with Company A, Second 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, Miss., when he graduated from the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Leadership Development Course. Later that same year he was promoted to sergeant and participated in an overseas training event between his unit, the Third Battalion (Mechanized), 144th Infantry Regiment, and the German Fifth Company, Panzergrenadierbataillon 152.
Meister transferred to the Texas Army National Guard in 1998 before joining the First Battalion, 355th Regiment, First Brigade, 95th Division (Institutional Training), Fort Worth, Texas. There, he 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, Oklahoma City, Okla. 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.
Meister's service awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, the Army Good Conduct Medal, three Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral Three Device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Expert Infantryman Badge, Air Assault Badge, Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge, 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 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.
*A special thank you to Find A Grave contributor Caroline for providing 1st Sgt. Tobias Meister's middle name and burial information.
**Heartfelt thanks to Find A Grave contributor FLH for sponsoring this memorial for Tobias Meister. May the kindness you've shown be returned to you a hundredfold.
***Special thanks to Find A Grave contributor, Brandy for fulfilling my photo request for Tobias Meister.
1SGT Tobias Corbin Meister
Remsen, Plymouth County, Iowa, USA
|Death||28 Dec 2005 (aged 30)
Asadabad, Asadabad District, Kunar, Afghanistan
|Burial||Broken Arrow, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, USA|
|Plot||Veterans Field of Honor 122 B2A|
|Memorial ID||12870689 View Source|
There's little doubt Toby Meister loved the Army and loved serving his country.
- Created by: Rosie
- Added: 2 Jan 2006
- Find a Grave Memorial 12870689
- Sponsored by 46620252
Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12870689/tobias-corbin-meister : accessed ), memorial page for 1SGT Tobias Corbin Meister (24 Nov 1975–28 Dec 2005), Find a Grave Memorial ID 12870689, citing Floral Haven Memorial Gardens, Broken Arrow, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Rosie (contributor 46776899) .