Book documents Post-9/11 veterans from Minnesota

By Tim Engstrom
“Minnesota in the Global War on Terrorism: Post 9/11 Profiles Volume I” features many American Legion members.

Museum preserves stories of Minnesotans in Global War on Terrorism

See a video about the book by clicking here.

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Military & Veterans Museum has produced a new book documenting the stories of veterans from the Land of 10,000 Lakes who fought in the Global War on Terrorism.

Called “Minnesota in the Global War on Terrorism,” the book was inspired by previous work produced after other wars.

Museum Director Randal Dietrich said similar books — deliberate efforts to preserve stories — were produced following wars as far back as the Civil War and the U.S.-Dakota War.

“We thought it was important to follow the lead of our predecessors and do the same,” he said.

The great thing about books is that they don’t suffer from software updates or electrical outages, Dietrich noted. They can be stored and opened again a century later, available to read immediately. Meanwhile, the digital version could be obsolete.

“You can’t give me a more enduring technology than the printing press,” he said.

The museum only produced 400 copies of the books. They cannot be purchased. Instead, they are made available to libraries, universities and schools. Dietrich encouraged readers to check out copies at local libraries.

The book tells the tales of Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the aftermath, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Allies Refuge, Operation Allies Welcome, the homefront and remembrances from 20 years later.

Keith Deutsch of New Prague Post 45 is featured in the book.

Among the people profiled are:

• Bloomington’s Tom Burnett, who was among the passengers aboard United Flight 93 who thwarted the hijackers’ plans.

• Clarks Grove’s Corey Goodnature, an Army chopper pilot who perished in the crash of an MH-47 Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan as part of Operation Red Wings.

• Bovey’s Andrew Bunderman, an Army officer who remained calm under fire at the Battle of Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan.

• Amboy’s James Olson, a Marine who still has shrapnel in him to this day from standing guard at an intersection in Iraq when a car bomb went off.

• New Prague’s Keith Duetsch, who lost a leg on an Army convoy in Iraq and who later found success as a national champion adaptive snowboarder.

• Maple Plain’s Mike McElhiney, a Special Forces soldier who was severely wounded by friendly fire as a result of a B-52 dropping a JDAM bomb on his unit.

• St. Paul’s Dan Gabrielli, commander for the Air National Guard’s Task Force Holloman, which became the 487th Air Expeditionary Wing, at Holloman AFB in New Mexico, which housed vulnerable Afghanis after the evacuation of Kabul.

The book’s three main authors are Dietrich, Minnesota Legionnaire Editor Emeritus Al Zdon and Minnesota Legionnaire Editor Tim Engstrom. The foreword is by Kyle Ward, director of social studies education at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

An electronic copy of the book is available online at