BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two North Dakota Army National Guard soldiers died in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan, the state Guard's first casualties in the war on terror in six years. A third soldier was wounded.
Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde, 41, of Devils Lake, and Spc. Tyler Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, died Monday when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle, the Guard said.
Spc. Ian Placek, 23, of Bismarck, was wounded. He was in stable condition at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, according to the Guard.
"Our hearts and prayers are with their families as they grieve the loss of their loved ones," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement late Tuesday. "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."
The soldiers were serving with the 818th Engineer Company. The unit is headquartered in Williston with a detachment in Hazen. About 100 members of the unit deployed in April for a year of duty overseas, arriving in Afghanistan in June after undergoing final training at Fort Bliss in Texas. The unit focuses on combat engineer missions, such as construction, demolition and route clearance — the duty they were handling when the attack occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Monday Afghanistan time, which is about 8 a.m. in North Dakota.
"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," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the state Guard commander. "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."
Fourteen North Dakota guardsmen have now died in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last casualty was in November 2006.
Linde is survived by his wife, Adrienne, of Devils Lake, and four children. He also deployed to Iraq with the Guard's 164th Engineer Battalion from August 2007 to April 2008.
Linde originally enlisted in the North Dakota Guard in 1990. He served in the U.S. Army and Montana Army National Guard before returning to the North Dakota Guard in 2006. Since 2009, he served as a full-time instructor with the Guard's 164th Regional Training Institute, at the Camp Grafton Training Center near Devils Lake.
Orgaard is survived by his parents, Josephine and Jesse Orgaard, of Bismarck. He joined the North Dakota Guard shortly before his graduation from Bismarck Century High School in 2011. Afghanistan was his first overseas deployment.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.