BISMARCK Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general, said Tuesday that two soldiers assigned to the 818th Engineer Company (Sapper) were killed in action Dec. 3 while on duty in Afghan-istan. Another soldier from the unit was wounded in the attack.
The soldiers were conducting route clearance operations when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle in southern Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Darren M. Linde, 41, of Devils Lake, and Spc. Tyler J. Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, were killed in action.
Spc. Ian Charles Placek, 23, also of Bismarck, was wounded in the attack and is listed in stable condition at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
The Department of Defense reported Wednesday that the attack occurred at Lashkar Gah City in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
The 818th Engineer Company is headquartered in Williston, with a detachment in Hazen. About 100 soldiers with the unit entered federal active-duty status on April 27. The unit arrived for duty in Afghanistan in June.
"Today is a sad day for North Dakota as we mourn the loss of Sgt 1st Class Linde and Spc. Orgaard who were killed in action while serving our state and nation," said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. "Our hearts and prayers are with their families as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. Our thoughts are also with Spc. Placek as he recovers from his injuries. We will never forget these heroes or the last full measure of devotion they gave in defense of our homeland and our way of life."
"We know that these brave North Dakotans served selflessly in a unit with a very dangerous mission, helping to make the way safe for others," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. "They represent the very best of our state and our nation, and we are deeply grateful for their service. We will continue to pray for Spc. Placek, his family and his doctors as he recovers from his injuries. The families, friends and communities of these brave men have also made a great sacrifice, and we pledge never to forget them or their loved ones."
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said, "Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of these brave soldiers. They made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom, and their deaths will be mourned by all North Dakotans and all Americans. They will be remembered forever as heroes who gave their lives so that others might live free.
"We are also praying for the recovery of Spc. Ian Placek. We are grateful for his service and sacrifice, and will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers as he travels the often difficult road to recovery."
The attack occurred at 7:58 a.m. CST on Dec. 3; local Afghanistan time was 6:28 p.m.
"We are extremely saddened by the loss of two of our soldiers and extend our most sincere condolences and prayers to their family and friends during this time of sorrow", Sprynczynatyk said. "We also wish Spc. Placek a speedy recovery. We will always remember our brave soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty."
Linde is survived by his wife, Adrienne, of Devils Lake, and four children. He graduated from Sidney High School in Montana in 1989. He also deployed to Iraq with the N.D. National Guard's 164th Engineer Battalion from August 2007 to April 2008. Linde originally enlisted in the N.D. Army National Guard in 1990. He served in the U.S. Army and Montana Army National Guard before returning to the N.D. Guard in 2006. Since 2009, he served as a full-time instructor with the N.D. National Guard's 164th Regional Training Institute, Camp Grafton Training Center at Devils Lake.
Orgaard is survived by his parents, Josephine and Jesse Orgaard, of Bismarck. He joined the N.D. Army National Guard shortly before his graduation from Bismarck's Century High School in 2011. This was his first overseas deployment.
The N.D. National Guard will announce funeral arrangements as soon as available.
The last North Dakota National Guard casualty in the global war on terrorism was six years ago. Including Linde and Orgaard, 14 North Dakota Guardsmen have died in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.