Soldiers Return to North Dakota After Almost Yearlong Mission in Afghanistan

About 15 members of the North Dakota Army National Guard's 191st Military Police Company came home

FARGO, N.D. — Just in time for Thanksgiving, over a dozen North Dakotans are back home after an almost yearlong mission in Afghanistan.

About 15 members of the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 191st Military Police Company had their homecoming.

Nine months ago, they were sent on a NATO mission in Afghanistan. They served as protective detail and provided transportation for Resolute Support Headquarters staff.

Some soldiers say the hardest part was being away from loved ones.

“Being away from family, taking things we take for granted over here— TV, radio, things like that,” Sgt. Darren Benneweis said.

“Missing family and friends. Being away from them, a lot of things, back now, look forward to seeing them all again,” Sgt. Garrett Belgarde said.

Several soldiers arrived at Hector International Airport, while others returned home to Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot.

After being gone for so many months, two things the soldiers say they’re looking forward to back home are the cold and fresh air.

“That’s what’s great about North Dakota, it’s cold. We’re ready for it,” Benneweis said.

“It feels good. I missed my family. I missed my friends, I missed North Dakota, I missed everything about it, fresh air,” Belgarde said.

His advice for those who might not be home for the holidays is to stay in touch with your loved ones.

“Connect with them. If you have the opportunity to call back, call back and connect. Especially with advantages in technology these days, you can connect,” he said.

“It’s like wow, we’ve all talked about it, being back, it’s like whoa, it hasn’t really set in yet. We’re excited to be home, couldn’t have been a better time right before the holidays,” Benneweis said.

About half of the unit’s members are home. The rest will return next month.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News