ND soldiers killed in Afghanistan rememberedBISMARCK — Family members and fellow soldiers are sharing memories of two North Dakota Army National Guardsmen killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan.
BISMARCK — Family members and fellow soldiers are sharing memories of two North Dakota Army National Guardsmen killed in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan.
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 military said. Spc. Ian Placek, 23, of Bismarck, was wounded and is in stable condition at a hospital in Germany.
Orgaard’s parents, Jesse and Josephine Orgaard, and his older sister, Kristy, remembered him Thursday as a gifted guitarist and pianist, an accomplished mixed-martial-artist and a devoted son who loved his mother’s meatball and mashed potato dinners.
But Orgaard’s family said his biggest love was the military, ever since he was a small child.
“His passion was to be in the military,” Jesse Orgaard said. “It was always something he wanted to do ... his heart was in it, his mind was in it.”
“Anything he’s ever done, he’s done 100 percent,” his mother said.
Linde is being remembered as not only a soldier but also a mentor. He earned the nicknames “Grandpa” and “Papa Bear” while serving as a full-time instructor with the Guard’s 164th Regional Training Institute at the Camp Grafton Training Center, fellow instructor 1st Sgt. Kurt Schwind told the Grand Forks Herald.
“Those are terms of endearment that he did not take lightly,” Schwind said. “Not everyone gets a nickname.”
Linde also served in Iraq from August 2007 to April 2008. Many saw him as a mentor in a platoon in which the average age was about 20.
“A lot of the younger soldiers looked up to him,” said Sgt. Heather Barta, of Bismarck, who had Linde as her squad leader in Iraq.
The bodies of Linde and Orgaard were flown into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday. It could be a week before the bodies are returned to North Dakota, according to Capt. Dan Murphy, a Guard spokesman. Funeral arrangements were pending.
The deaths of Linde and Orgaard were the first North Dakota National Guard casualties in the war on terror since November 2006. Fourteen North Dakota guardsmen have now died while serving in Iraq or Afghan-istan.
The 818th Engineer Company is headquartered in Williston with a detachment in Hazen. About 100 members of the unit have been in Afghanistan since June.