BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota soldier who was wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan that killed two of his comrades is back home in Bismarck recovering and doing administrative work for the National Guard.
Spc. Ian Placek, 23, suffered burns to his back, side and a wrist in the blast Dec. 3, along with an ankle injury that has required two surgeries. The explosion killed two other members of the 818th Engineer Company: Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde, 41, of Devils Lake; and Spc. Tyler Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck.
Placek initially was treated at a hospital in Germany and then transferred to Fort Riley in Kansas.
He is continuing physical therapy in Bismarck while working at the National Guard armory for the 68th Troop Command, while still on crutches and wearing a boot on his injured foot, The Bismarck Tribune reported. He hopes to get rid of the crutches in about a month.
Short-term memory problems caused by a concussion and smoke inhalation in his lungs have cleared up, Placek said. Once he gets medical clearance from a battalion at Fort Riley, “then I’ll be home for good,” he said.
Placek traveled to Fort Bliss in Texas this week to help welcome home the other members of the 188th, who will return to North Dakota after completing the demobilization process.
“There were a lot of surprised looks ... but I wanted to be the first to welcome them home,” he said.
Placek said he has received phenomenal support from friends, family and the military, and he sensed some envy among people at Fort Riley.
“I told them that’s how we do things in North Dakota,” he said. “We take care of each other.”