Hoeven Honors Soldiers, Families at Freedom Salute Ceremony

WILLISTON, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined the community to honor members of the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 818th Engineering Company (Sapper) who recently returned home following an almost year-long deployment to Afghanistan. Hoeven paid tribute to the soldiers and their families for their service and honored Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard who were killed in action and Spc. Ian Placek who was wounded in the same attack.

“The 818th Engineering Company has shown tremendous dedication while serving our country in Afghanistan. We are grateful to these soldiers and their families for the many sacrifices they made to defend our nation’s freedoms,” said Hoeven. “They faced enormous challenges, losing two of their comrades in an attack, and went on to complete their mission with courage and tenacity. We honor Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard today and pledge to never forget these men or the ultimate sacrifice they made on our behalf. We also continue to keep Spc. Ian Placek in our thoughts and prayers and wish him the best as he continues his recovery.”

The 818th Engineer Company (Sapper) is based in Williston with a detachment in Hazen, and includes soldiers from across North Dakota. The soldiers spent nearly a year working as combat engineers, which includes route clearance, general construction and demolitions. The company is led by Capt. Robert Bohl of Flasher, N.D. with 1st Sgt. Rashad Schaffner of Dawson, N.D. serving as the unit’s senior enlisted leader.