Last year, Northfield Patch connected with three Northfield men whose lives were affected by and changed because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
All three shared personal photos of their time in the service, a call they answered following the attacks on American soil more than a decade ago. They also took time to provide context for the photos and we revisit them as we remember 9/11 today.
This is their story in their words.
On Aug. 20, 2004, I deployed with the Minnesota Army National Guard, E Battery, 216th ADA (Air Defense Artillery). Our unit at the time was attached to the 29th Enhanced Infantry Brigade out of Hawaii as their Air Defense unit.
We deployed to FT Bliss, TX, and Fort Polk for five months of training, and then left the U.S. in January 2005 for the Middle East. Our unit was split in half. Half went to Iraq and the other half linked up with
a small unit from Vermont and went to Saudi Arabia. I was in the group that went to Saudi Arabia. We were stationed at Eskan Village, just outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Our mission while we were there was to provide Base Security and Personal Security Detachment for the Active Component that was present. We provided security for American vehicles outside of the base, manned Entry Control Points, manned perimeter guard towers, and had a small roaming Quick Reactionary Force (QRC).
I spent most of my time working the 12-hour night shift in a guard tower. When other soldiers had a night off, I would move tower to tower, working their shift.
We were in Saudi Arabia for a total of 12 months (January 2005-January 2006), and on deployment for a total of 18 months. I was 19 and the rank of Specialist (SPC) when I deployed. I spent my 20th and 21st birthdays away from home. I am now 26 and a Staff Sergeant working full time for the 34th Infantry Division in Inver Grove Heights, MN.
I am a Specialist (E-4) currently waiting for my Sergeant (E-5). I am an MP With the 34th Military Police Company out of Stillwater, MN. I have been in the Minnesota Army National Guard for seven years now, and I love it! I deployed from March 2009 to February 2010 and I am currently waiting to answer Freedom's call again to Afghanistan in April. I was 20 when I first deployed and I turned 21 right before we set boots on ground in Iraq.
Here are five of my favorite pictures from my deployment.
The first is a hard reminder of the Price of Freedom. I lost three of my best friends overseas on July 16 due to Iranian Insurgents who rocketed our base in Basra, Iraq.
The second one was taken when I got home and they released us from our last formation from our deployment; the first hug I got was from my Dad, from one MP to another.
The third was while I was in Basra, Iraq. I had gotten a Northfield newspaper from my family, and even though it was two weeks old, it was still nice to sit down and read about everything going on back home. I sat and read the whole paper right outside my living quarters.
The fourth was while I was in Baghdad. It is a picture of me on Camp Slayer, across the lake from on of Saddam Hussein's palace that he called the "Victory Over America Palace", which, during construction, we hit with 2 JDAM Bombs.
And the last was in a small Iraqi village 20 miles south of Baghdad. It was about the size of Dundas. We drove through on a Recon Mission and it was extremely nerve-wracking because of how many people were on the street at the time.
I hope these can help and give people a different view of OIF and what we do for the greatest nation on earth!
I enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard on Dec. 10, 1998, at only 17 years of age, with parental consent. I belonged to the 434th Chemical Company in Northfield, MN.
After serving only three and a half years I decided to go full time in the service and therefore on July 18, 2002, I enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Campbell Kentucky. I was part of the 63rd Chemical Company. At this time 9/11 had already happened and after arriving at Fort Campbell I learned that there would be a strong chance of a deployment in my future.
Approximately six and a half months or so after my arrival the orders came down that we would be deploying with the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade (the mighty Rakkassans). So, on March 3, 2003, we boarded a flight to Kuwait, and on March 19, 2003, President Bush gave the orders to attack the country of Iraq and I became a Veteran of the United States.
One of the pictures I have provided was taken . That's right, my birthday just so happens to fall the day after 9/11. Only two years and a day after the attack that shook the United States I was celebrating my birthday with 33 fellow soldiers instead of my close family and friends.
Just four months later we were informed that our orders to return home had arrived. On Feb. 4, 2004, after an 11-month tour, we were finally going home. After that I remained with the 63rd Chemical Company until July 18, 2005, when I returned home to Minnesota to once again enlist with the 434th Chemical Company to be a part of the Minnesota Army National Guard.
After another roughly three and a half years with a short break in service in the middle I decided that April 19, 2008, after my contract of enlistment was up, that I would go on in life being a civilian. Since then I have become an active member of the and will never forget the day that enevitably lead to me becoming a United States Veteran. I will never forget 9/11/2001.