Before he died in the line of duty Monday in Afghanistan, Sgt. 1st Class Darren M. Linde was a dedicated soldier, serving the North Dakota National Guard, Montana National Guard and the U.S. Army since 1990.
Linde was killed when an improvised explosive device went off near the vehicle he was inside in southern Afghanistan on Monday. Spc. Tyler J. Orgaard of Bismarck was also killed in the encounter. A third soldier, Spc. Ian Charles Placek of Bismarck, was injured in the attack.
“My wife Lucy and I extend our deepest sympathy to the families of Sgt. 1st Class Darren Michael Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard,” Sen. Kent Conrad said. “Their deaths are a very hard blow for all North Dakotans. Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of these brave soldiers.They made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom, and their deaths will be mourned by all North Dakotans and all Americans. They will be remembered forever as heroes who gave their lives so that others might live free. We are also praying for the recovery of Spc. Ian Placek. We are grateful for his service and sacrifice and will keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers as he travels the often difficult road to recovery.”
According to National Guard records, Linde originally enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1990, the year after he graduated from Sidney High School. Since then, he has served his country as a full-time soldier in the Army and as a Guard member in Montana.
In 2006, he rejoined the North Dakota Guard and worked full-time as an instructor with the Guard since 2009.
Linde was living in Devils Lake when he died, but he has strong ties to Sidney, Mont. and Williston. Linde not only graduated from Sidney, but he lived in the area for many years. His parents, Dwight and Lana Linde, live in Williston.
The 818th Engineer Company is also housed in Williston.
During his military career, Linde received numerous awards and decorations. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Award. He has also received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and many more.
In addition, Linde received several state awards, including the North Dakota Legion of Merit, North Dakota National Guard Commendation Ribbon, North Dakota National Guard Achievement Ribbon, North Dakota National Guard Service Ribbon, North Dakota National Guard Basic Training Ribbon and the Montana National Guard Campaign Ribbon.
During his military career, Linde attended several specialty schools. He went to the Officer Candidate School, Advanced Leadership Course/Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Sapper Leadership Course, Combat Engineer Advanced Individual Training Course, Combat Life Saver Training Bridge Crewmember (12C) Route Reconnaissance and Clearance Course and the Army Instructor Course.
The National Guard reported that Linde’s body was expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Wednesday. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.