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Forum staff reports, Published March 12 2013

Guard’s 818th Engineer Company back in U.S.

FORT BLISS, TEXAS – About 100 soldiers with the North Dakota National Guard’s 818th Engineer Company (Sapper) are back on U.S. soil after arriving here just before 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The company returned from a year deployment in Afghanistan.

Members of the 8181th Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard were killed in action Dec. 3. Spc. Ian Placek was injured in the attack and recently returned to Bismarck to continue his recovery.

The soldiers served as combat engineers in Afghanistan, where they cleared routes of improvised explosive devices to protect coalition forces.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, traveled to Texas to welcome the soldiers home.

“I know today comes with mixed emotions. You’re finally back in the United States and soon will be reunited with your friends and family. At the same time, I know the absence of two of your brothers is still very much felt,” he said

Capt. Robert Bohl, of Flasher, N.D., commands the unit, which is based in Williston, with a detachment in Hazen. Sgt. Maj. Rashad Schaffner, of Dawson, N.D., serves as the unit’s senior enlisted leader.

Nearly half of the soldiers in the unit had previously deployed. A third volunteered to join the unit specifically to serve on the Afghanistan deployment.