National Guard unit arrives back in NWI Wednesday morning
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com September 25, 2012 5:18PM
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:16AM
After spending nearly a year in Afghanistan, the Indiana National Guard’s 713th Engineer Company will return to Northwest Indiana on Wednesday morning.
The Valparaiso-based unit is scheduled to arrive at 11:50 a.m. at the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Gary/Chicago International Airport. The soldiers arrived back in the U.S. — at Fort Bliss, Texas — on Sept. 15 and 17.
The 713th Engineer Company completed the dangerous mission of patrolling roads and clearing away roadside bombs in Kandahar Province for 101/2 months.
Six soldiers were killed during the tour: Spc. Robert J. Tauteris, Jr., 44, of Hamlet; Staff Sgt. Jonathan M. Metzger, of Indianapolis; Spc. Brian J. Leonhardt, 21, of Merrillville; and Spc. Christopher Patterson, 20, of Aurora, Ill., were killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Pfc.
Douglas Rachowicz, 30, of Hammond, was the lone survivor and received the Purple Heart in May.
On July 16, Spc. Sergio E. Perez Jr., 21, of Crown Point, and Spc. Nicholas A. Taylor, 20, of Berne, were killed by small arms fire during an ambush.
In addition, a noncommissioned officer trying to find the name attached to the unit was killed by an improvised explosive device in June.
According to the Indiana National Guard, the 713th platoons conducted 371 missions and cleared approximately 14,000 miles of routes for Afghan citizens, Afghan security forces, U.S. forces and international forces. The two attached platoons conducted 360 missions and cleared approximately 17,000 miles of routes.