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Area soldier awarded

A local Iraq War veteran and local police officer who was recently recognized for his contributions, hopes to spend more time fishing now that he's retired.

Command Sgt. Maj. William Leach, Dickinson, retired from the National Guard in January and was awarded the North Dakota Legion of Merit on Feb. 7.

"It's the highest award that North Dakota awards service members for meritorious duty or meritorious achievement," he said.

He was also presented a commemorative saber at his retirement ceremony.

Leach began his military career in 1976 when he enlisted in the United States Army. He joined the National Guard in Dickinson in 1981.

Leach, who has also been a Dickinson Police Department lieutenant since 1981, has received many awards throughout his career.

In December 2006, Leach went to Iraq with the 164th Engineer Battalion. He served as an intelligence analyst until returning in May.

"I'm happy I'm retired," Leach said. "Of course you miss the people and all the friendships you make over the years. I'm going to miss the missions."

Besides working at the police department, Leach has many plans for his retirement.

"I'm an outdoorsy person, so I intend to go camping, hunting and fishing," Leach said.

His colonel could not be reached for comment.