The state of North Dakota and its residents mourned last week the deaths of two North Dakota National Guardsmen who were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan. A third Guardsmen was injured in the attack.
Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde, 41, of Devils Lake, and Spc. Tyler Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, were killed. Spc. Ian Placek, 23, of Bismarck, was wounded. The deaths were the first North Dakota National Guard casualties in the war on terror since 2006. A total of 14 North Dakota guardsmen have died while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Linde was remembered as a mentor to younger soldiers, earning the nicknames "Grandpa" and "Papa Bear." He had previously served in Iraq from August 2007 to April 2008. Orgaard's family said his passion was to be in the military.
The deaths of the men and the injuries suffered by Placek remind us all of the constant dangers members of the armed forces face every day they are deployed to countless locations around the world. We must also remember that despite victories won in recent years, the war on terrorism is very much ongoing in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the world.
The thoughts and prayers of North Dakotans everywhere are with the families of all the men involved, and those that remain in harm's way.