WILLISTON, ND - Two National Guardsmen are dead and a third is recovering from serious injuries after their vehicle hit and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan.
The National Guard says Sergeant 1st Class Darren Linde and Specialist Tyler Orgaard died when their vehicle exploded Monday in southern Afghanistan.
Linde is a 41-year-old from Devils Lake, North Dakota, who has been in the military for more than 20 years.
Orgaard is a 20-year-old from Bismark and was serving his first deployment.
The men were part of the 818th Engineer Company.. and have been in Afghanistan since June.
Spc. Ian Placek, 23, of Bismarck, was wounded in the IED incident. He is listed 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."