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Returning National Guard troops welcomed in Fargo

"As a Vietnam veteran, we didn't get welcomed home very much," said Wayne Wermager, of West Fargo, who added that ever since he came home from Vietnam in 1972 he has made a point of welcoming back other service members whenever he has the chance.

Tan and camouflage bags lay in the snow in the foreground of soldiers unloading baggage from a plane.
Members of the Minnesota Army National Guard Bravo Company 2-136th Infantry Regiment supporting Operation Spartan Shield load gear to waiting buses after their arrival at the old terminal of Hector International Airport on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO — Wayne Wermager was among a small group of people waiting at the old passenger terminal of Fargo's Hector International Airport Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 9, to welcome home a group of Minnesota Army National Guard troops who served overseas for about the past year.

"As a Vietnam veteran, we didn't get welcomed home very much," said Wermager, of West Fargo, who added that ever since he came home from Vietnam in 1972 he has made a point of welcoming home other service members whenever he has the chance.

Others waiting for the troops to arrive included about 15 family members of Dallas Peterson, of Crookston, Minnesota, a member of the 2-136th Infantry Regiment's Bravo Company.

Peterson, who hadn't been home for about a year, was looking forward to going ice fishing, one family member said.

A soldier in uniform embraces a weeping woman.
Dallas Peterson, of Crookston, Minnesota, is welcomed home by family members on Wednesday, Feb. 9, in Fargo. Family members said Peterson, a member of the Minnesota Army National Guard, has been deployed overseas for about a year.
David Olson / The Forum

Minutes later, Peterson and about 60 of his fellow soldiers landed in Fargo and made their way from the tarmac into the former passenger terminal.

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Among them was Aaron Jones, of Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

Jones said he was looking forward to surprising his mother, who wasn't aware he was coming home Wednesday.

020922.N.FF.RETURNINGTROOPS
Aaron Jones of the Minnesota Army National Guard Bravo Company 2-136th Infantry Regiment talks about supporting Operation Spartan Shield, after arriving at the old terminal of Hector International Airport on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum

He said part of his mission during the past year was helping protect the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Americans and other foreigners evacuated the country ahead of a Taliban takeover.

"I'm only 20, so being able to actually go to Afghanistan, it was definitely an experience," said Jones, who added that at one point the Minnesota soldiers witnessed the transporting of remains of people killed during the violence that occurred in and around the Kabul airport.

"That was definitely an eye-opener of what can happen," Jones said.

The 60 or so soldiers who landed in Fargo Wednesday were transported by buses to their home communities of Crookston and Thief River Falls.

020922.N.FF.RETURNINGTROOPS
Members of the Minnesota Army National Guard Bravo Company 2-136th Infantry Regiment supporting Operation Spartan Shield arrive at the old terminal of Fargo's Hector International Airport on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022.
David Samson / The Forum

Another 60 or so members of the Minnesota Guard who have been serving overseas landed in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, according to Guard spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Sauvageau.

Related Topics: PEOPLEMINNESOTA
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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