Serving his country for 20 years
Minneota native Dude Myhre, a 20-year veteran of the Army National Guard, recently turned home in late July after his third deployment to Afghanistan.
Myhre, a 2001 Minneota graduate, enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard with the A Battery 1-151 Field Artillery out of Marshall in April of 2001.
"I always wanted to serve our country," Myhre said.
And he has been serving ever since.
Trained in primary Military Operations Specialty (MOS) 13B FA in Fort Sill, OK for four months, Myhre's first deployment was Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-05 where he was based in Baghdad as a Military Police where his job was training Iraqi Police. He was deployed a second time from 2009-10 and based in Kuwait where he ran operations into Iraq as a Convoy Escort Team.
His most recent deployment began Aug. 3, 2020 where he was a Platoon Sergeant based in Bagram Afghanistan, operating a Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar System (C-RAM).
Myhre returned to his home in Ghent in late July and reunited with his wife, Jessica, and children Aubree, 9; Maddie, 7; and Brayden, 3.
"The support we received from the communities of both Minneota and Ghent was incredible," said Jessica. "My family helped out a lot and I have no idea what I would have done without them."
Myhre is still enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard out of C Btry 1-194 FA in Alexandria, but currently is still on active-duty orders stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas, on SRU (soldier recovery unit).
During his deployment to Afghanistan, Myhre injured his shoulder lifting heavy equipment. An MRI revealed a torn bicep tendon. Although no surgery was required, he has been going though physical therapy the past two months and recently was placed on remote medical care orders.
"I am home now continuing physical therapy for another few months," he explained. "I will continue physical therapy to get my shoulder healed up and be discharged from active duty. Once I am off active duty, I will report back to C Btry 1-194 and return to my full-time position at MnDOT."
Myhre has worked as a road maintenance technician at MnDOT for the past four years.
Myhre started out with the A Btry 1-151 FA in Marshall in 2001 and remained until 2013. He was promoted to E6 Staff Sergeant in 2013 and was transferred to B Btry 1-125 FA in Jackson in southern Minneota as a Section Leader. He was then promoted again, this time in 2019 as an E7 Sergeant First Class, and again was transferred to C Btry 1-194 in Alexandria as a Platoon Sergeant.
During his first deployment to Iraq, Myhre was only 22 years old when he saw war up close and personal.
"There were a lot of roadside bombs going off," he said. "I was shot at, but not hit. I was in the Kill Zone and a bomb went off next to the Humvee we were in. No one was injured, though."
Although he was in a scary situation, Myhre said he wasn't necessarily scared himself.
"We receive intense training for these types of things," he said. "Your muscle memory kicks into mode. It's an ego thing where you know you can do this. You also rely on your battle buddies to keep you up."
In Afghanistan, his third deployment, Myhre said the scenery near the Bagram Airfield Base where he was stationed is similar to Colorado.
"We did not leave the air base," he said. "We were surrounded by mountain peaks that were covered in snow. It got cold, but it wasn't as cold as our weather here in Minnesota. The average temperature during summer there was around 95 degrees."
Myhre's platoon's mission involved Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM). C-RAM is a system that tracks 360 degrees to detect any rockets, artillery, or mortars being shot toward the base.
"Once it detects a threat, it will continuously fire 20mm ammunition at the rocket until it is destroyed in the air," Myhre noted. "We had the responsibility of protecting over 15,000 U.S. military personnel, local nationals and other U.S. coalition forces living in Bagram."
Myhre's responsibilities were supervising and managing his platoon of 24 soldiers, four C-RAM systems, and the closure of Bagram.
He intends to retire in 2025 when his ETS (estimated time service) contract runs out.
"I am most proud of serving and protecting our country," he said, when asked. "Most of all, deploying overseas, protecting my battle buddies, local nationals and other U.S. coalitions."
Jessica also expressed how proud she is of her husband.
"I'm very proud of his dedication to the military and his selflessness," she said. "He is always putting others before himself and doing what he can to help others better themselves."
Being away from home is the hardest part for those serving in the military. It takes a special family to understand and support their loved ones.
"I want to thank all my family and friends who have supported me through my military career," Myhre said. "I want to thank my supervisors and managers at MnDOT for patiently waiting for me to return.
"But most of all, I want to thank everyone who has supported Jess and the kids this past year. I greatly appreciate the love and generosity shown towards Jess. I also greatly appreciate all the care packages and letters sent to me during this deployment."