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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 20, 2013, 10:03 AM

10 Years Later: North Dakota Soldiers reflect on their time in Iraq

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Ten years ago, the US began its invasion of Iraq. Almost 4,500 Americans were killed, including 16 soldiers from North Dakota, or soldiers serving in North Dakota units.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Ten years ago, the US began its invasion of Iraq. Almost 4,500 Americans were killed, including 16 soldiers from North Dakota, or soldiers serving in North Dakota units.

North Dakota sent hundreds of soldiers to fight in Iraq just weeks after the war began back in 2003. Some returned home to their families, only to learn they had to go back a few years later. Others didn't make it back at all. Tonight, everyone remembers the thousands of lives lost serving our country.

This was the horrific scene exactly 10 years ago, as American soldiers invaded Iraq. Hundreds of men and women were eventually fighting from North Dakota; eight would never make it back home. Airman Scott Terry remembers his experience like it was only yesterday.

Scott Terry – Air National Guard Chief Master Sergeant: "You definitely felt like you were needed there."

In Iraq he spent his days conducting base maintenance at an airport.

Scott Terry: "We were relatively safe. They had some indirect fire stuff at night, which was really nothing, nothing compared to Ole and Company.

Master Sergeant Mark Olafson was first deployed in 2003 shortly after the war began.

Mark Olafson – Army National Guard Master Sergeant: "We were definitely on dangerous missions, so that was a little good to get away from that."

Olafson was in charge of clearing roadside bombs, and for him, this decade anniversary serves as a reminder of the two men he lost.

Mark Olafson: "Ah, Hopefully that we were over there and helped make the country a better place."

Scott Terry: "I wouldn't say it's a good thing at all. I can't believe it's been as fast. The older you get, time flies by that much quicker."

Both say after all these years of service, they're thankful for their time here safely back home.

Mark Olafson: "It was tough, but looking back on it, it's kind of one of those things that help you grow as a person."

Scott Terry: "Hopefully that they place is better for us having been there. Time will tell, I just hope that we did some good."

The last soldiers pulled out of Iraq in December of 2011, but 30,000 suffered injuries Many are still being treated here at the VA.

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