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Minnesota National Guard
Two more Minnesota Soldiers killed in Iraq

Two Minnesota National Guard Soldiers were killed Saturday in Iraq when a bomb exploded near their vehicle, the Department of Defense said Monday.

Spc Bryan T McDonough, 22, of Maplewood, and Spc Corey J Rystad, 20, of Red Lake Falls were on patrol near Fallujah when the explosion occurred, officials said.

Both men were assigned to B Company, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, based in Crookston, and had deployed to Iraq in March.

Rystad joined the military immediately after graduating from high school in 2004.

"Between training and everything, he's been gone since the end of last October," his brother, David Rystad, told the Grand Forks (ND) Herald, noting that Corey Rystad's spent time training in Mississippi before he left for Iraq "He was home on leave in June That was the last time we saw him" Rystad said his brother was a real outdoors lover, "Corey was just a fun-loving guy I know everybody always says that, but he really was He really, really enjoyed life He like hunting and he played sports in high school: football, hockey and golf."

Corey Rystad also had an older sister and a younger brother.

Andrew Bertilrud, a classmate and friend, said Rystad spent part of his leave helping him look for an apartment in Duluth.

"He was always ready to help people," Bertilrud said "He'd do anything for you."

McDonough's father, Thomas, told various news organizations that his son was a 2002 graduate of Roseville Area High School who had been taking classes at St Cloud Technical College before his deployment.

Tom said, "He was the center of attention when he was at a party He always knew how to make you smile, make you laugh He'd never want us to say he was a hero He's too modest."

"There's no other place I would rather be Putting everything on the line to defend my country is something I wanted to do and am proud to be here," McDonough wrote on his page on the popular Web site MySpace.com.

"When I get out of the sandbox, I will be going back to college; hopefully I can finish it up before Uncle Sam has another mission for us," he also wrote.

Several friends posted messages on his Web page, hailing McDonough as a true American hero and vowing he'll never be forgotten.

"Even though we've been crying these last few days we've been smiling thinking about him," said his brother Kevin.

The deaths raised the number of people with strong Minnesota ties who have died in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to 47.

Funeral arrangements for both guardsmen were pending

Source: http://www.kare11.com/news/ts_article.aspx?storyid=141553

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