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September 11, 2006

9/11@5 years on - We Remember DIA Budget Analyst Karl W. Teepe

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The Armorer remembers... Karl W. Teepe.

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Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly.

I knew several victims of the attack on the Pentagon. The week before, I had briefed LTG Maude and some of his staff in that exact same conference room that General Maude and others died in on that dark Tuesday.

And below that room, a couple of floors down, worked another man who died, with whom I had a somewhat closer, longer relationship. DIA budget analyst and retired soldier Karl Teepe.

He was my ROTC instructor at Mizzou. Along with Captain Mac, and the Master Sergeants Rodriguez, he had a distinct imprint upon my development as a cadet, and therefore as an officer.

He was a Duck Hunter, meaning his branch was Air Defense Artillery.

He was funny, in a snarky way, but took his job seriously. He loved his family, his job, and he took personal interest in his cadets He always had a ready smile - unless you were screwing up by the numbers - in which case he was all business. He had a lot of energy, too - but it was expressed in a laid-back manner. I don't know what he was like at home, but with his cadidiots he always kept an observant, available, hands-free approach - meaning he'd let you fail, in order to learn. Not in the catastrophic be-the-only-cadet-to-get-a-D-on-a-test fail - but the spread your wings and learn from experience but-I'll-keep-you-from-doing-something-stupid kind of fail.

Like skylining yourself in a tactics problem, or siting the machinegun where it can take flanking fire but not defend itself kind of thing. That kind of learning. The school of hard knocks, gently applied.

And despite good reason - he was always even-tempered, a trait he did *not* manage to pass on to me.

He had an impish side. I won't say that he was *involved* when we painted the Navy ROTC anchor pink for Homecoming, or was there when we covered it with grease and grass clippings, so it was all green and hairy. No, I couldn't say that. But I could say that he was... well, aware that his cadets were, um, er, oh, never mind. Look, bright shiny object!

He touched other people as well, and I've included those tributes, to flesh out the pale presence of Karl I've added here.

For an officer, you can't ask for much better a tribute from the soldiers you commanded than this one:

Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly.

I could live with that as an epitaph.

From the website we find this:

Karl W. Teepe Attack Location: Pentagon Age: 57 Home: Centreville, Virginia

Karl Teepe would sometimes take the Metro from the Pentagon to the Mall on his lunch break. He'd sit in a sculpture garden, or one of the Smithsonian Institution galleries, just to let the beauty sink in.

It had been a beautiful year. His daughter Wendy, 28, got married. His son Adam, 22, graduated from college.

"I think we were the most important thing to him," said Adam.

The family wanted to find a photograph that seemed appropriate. His Army and Defense Intelligence Agency IDs wouldn't do. For those, he would always make the funniest face possible. They chose the one from Wendy's wedding -- the glowing father of the bride.

Karl W. Teepe, 57, was born in St. Louis. He worked as a budget analyst. At home in Centreville, he spent his time making his surroundings beautiful -- the yard, the deck, the house. He took classes on the human genome, the Civil War, painting.

"Every time I came home, he had some exhibit I had to see," Wendy said.

At Christmas, he told the stories during the family slide show, bringing alive years of memories.

Before his Pentagon office was struck, he and his wife, Donna, planned a night out to see Garrison Keillor.

"We still have the tickets," she said.

-- Michael Laris

From September 11 we get this:

Cpt. Karl Teepe was my commanding officer at Foxtrot Battery 2/44th A.D.A. in South Korea from 1971 to 1973.We happened to meet again at Kleber Kaserne, Kaiserslautern, W.Germany in 1979 and visited some about old times at Foxtrot Battery. Karl was a good commanding officer and always treated the troops under him fairly. I just recently learned that Karl was killed

From Newsday, there is this light shining on Karl:

Avid Gardener, Devoted Family Man As much as Karl W. Teepe was devoted to his career, those closest to him knew what was most important to the Defense Intelligence Agency budget analyst -— his family.

“He always came home as soon as he could,” said Donna Teepe, 56, his wife. “We have two children and we were his life. He was very interested in everything the kids did. Our daughter got married last November and we had a really, really nice wedding. He loved being the father of the bride.”

Teepe, who lived in Centreville, Va., was just 57 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. He was born and raised in St. Louis, graduated from University of Illinois in 1967 and received a master’s degree from University of Missouri in Columbia. He joined the Army after obtaining his bachelor’s degree and served for 20 years, doing tours in Germany and South Korea. He retired 12 years ago to work as a civilian in the Pentagon.

Donna Teepe, who had known her husband since the seventh grade in Meadows Elementary School, said he enjoyed gardening and working on home projects. “He was very handy,” she said. “He made shelves, he built the deck in the back and he always tended the yard, making sure it looked very nice. He even commented one time about how he treated our backyard as another room in the house. I’m going to miss that in the spring, I know it.”

The Teepes were married 34 years and began dating since their days together at Riverview Gardens High School. “He was very sure of himself and everybody liked him,” Donna Teepe said. “He had a very dry sense of humor that was always fun.”

Besides his wife, Teepe also is survived by his daughter Wendy Green, 28, of Denver; his son Adam, 22, of Centreville; his mother, Ruth, of St. Louis; and his brother, Ken, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Photo By M. R. Patterson, 27 June 2003

Photo By M. R. Patterson, 27 June 2003