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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Clear Lake man honored for service in Afghanistan

CLEAR LAKE A Clear Lake soldier has received an award for his military service in Afghanistan.

Lt. Gabriel HAUGLAND, a member of Iowa Army National Guard, was awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge on Wednesday at his home in Clear Lake.

HAUGLAND, 29, was serving with Bravo Co., 168th Infantry Battalion, near the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Jan. 8 when his unit was caught in a firefight with Taliban fighters.

He was not injured in the attack.

Three days later, HAUGLAND broke his leg in a non-combat related accident and was shipped home to recover.

HAUGLAND joined the Army National Guard in May 2004.

His unit's mission is to secure the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, including to stop the flow of foreign fighters, drugs and guns into Afghanistan.

HAUGLAND'S military commitment will continue until 2015.

He is a graduate of the University of Iowa Iowa and Drake University Law School.

HAUGLAND lives in Clear Lake his wife, Carolyn, and their two children.

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Clear Lake Mirror Reporter
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Clear Lake soldier honored for service in Afghanistan
Haugland led troops caught in fire fight

A Clear Lake solider has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge in recognition of his leadership and action ambushed by Taliban rebels in Afghanistan. Gabriel HAUGLAND, 29, was presented with the award Thursday at his Clear Lake home with family and friends present.

HAUGLAND was sent home from Afghanistan after sustaining a non-combart injury requiring surgery and months of rehabilitation three days after the fire fight.

On Jan. 8, 2011 First Lt. HAUGLAND was leading 26 members of Bravo Company, 1st of the 168th Infantry Battalion and 20 Afghan Border Police when the unit was fired upon. His unit's mission is to secure the order between Pakistan and Afghanistan in an effort to stop the flow of guns, drugs and foreign fighters into the country.

In presenting the Combat Infantryman Badge, Lt. Col. Paul McNAMARA noted HAUGLAND took proper steps to protect his unit and return fire upon their attackers. No Americans or members of the Afghan Border Police were injured in the incident.

"I am sure we killed a number of bad guys with our return fire," said HAUGLAND. He noted that he radioed to bring in an F-15, which swooped down and helped to quickly disperse the rebels.

The Mount Vernon, Iowa native and graduate of the University of Iowa and Drake Law School joined the Army National Guard in 2004. His deployment to Cop Dand Patan base in Afghanistan was his first service abroad.

"We were stationed 300-feet from the Pakistan border. Every morning I would wake up looking north and see Tora Bora (the suspected hide-out of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as stronghold of the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies at the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001). I couldn't have had better daily motivation," said HAUGLAND.

And while he is happy to be home, HAUGLAND said he misses his unit and can't help but wish he was still there.

"When you spend one year getting ready, you build bonds," he said. "I am proud of how my platoon worked and I miss serving with them. But, I recognize my family needed me and this is what God had in store. I am meant to be here now."

He anticipates that by the time he has completed three to four more months of rehabilitation, his unit will likely be back in the States.

HAUGLAND will roll over seven years of military service in May. His military commitment continues until 2015.

HAUGLAND lives in Clear Lake with his wife, Carolyn, and their children, Grace and Nick.

Transcriptions by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2011

The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Friday, November 11, 2016, Page 4

Clear Lake veteran reminds Osage crowd to 'remember all veterans'
by Ashley Miller and Jim Cross

OSAGE -- Iowa Army National Guard captain and JAG attorney Gabe Haugland reminded everyone to honor and recognize all veterans and their contributions from the Revoluntionary War to the global war on terror.

Haugland, 34, of Clear Lake, was the guest speaker at Osage VFW Post 7920's annual membership dinner earlier this month.

"If you are grateful for your rights as an American citizen, thank and American soldier," said Haugland. "Leading America's sons and daughters is one of the highest honors of my life, and I'm not sure I deserved it.

Frankly, they were well trained and didn't need much leadership. The men and women I led are my heroes."

Haugland, born in Mount Vernon, lives in Clear Lake with his wife, Carolyn, and their two children, Grace, 8, & Nick, 6. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with a degree in political science and is a 2008 graduate of Drake Law School. He enlisted on May 28, 2004, Memorial Day, into the 194th Infantry Detachment (LRS) (Airborne) of the Iowa Army National Guard.

"My cousin, Tyler Davin, and I decided to enlist shortly after 9/11," said Haugland. "He signed up first. When I went to the armory in Iowa City with him, there was a quote on that wall that pierced me: "Those who wish to reap the blessings of freedom, must like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

"Thqat quote compelled me to enlist, because I knew I reaped the blessing of freedom and it was now time for me to take up arms and defend my country against terrorist."

His military training started with:
basic infantry training
airborne school
infantry officer school
infantry mortar leader course
sniper employment leader course
judge advocate officer basic course
judge advocate officer advanced course
special victims counsel

He now represents victims of sexual assault in the military.

His platoon, 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1-168 Infantry Battalion, 2-34th Infantry Division, arrived at Combat Outpost Dand Patan, Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on Oct. 1, 2010, located on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Haugland and his platoon lived on a small combat outpost with 100 Afghan border policemen, whom they trained and partnered with on missions.

"It was very stressful but rewarding experience," he said, "knowing that we were fighting terrorists in the same area that bin Lden had planned 9/11, in the shadows of Tora Bora."

On Jan. 11, 2011, his unit was involved in a sustained firefight against the Taliban that lasted 45 minutes.

"I was outside of my truck when the first rounds were fired at us, and I heard the bullets go by my head with a snapping sound," said Haugland. "My driver saw the bullets impact the road around our truck. The Taliban had the high ground about 800 meters upthe mountainside, and we were down below on the road in a riverbed.

"We returned fire, called in close-air support and eliminated the threat."

Haugland said the most extraordinary moment he experienced in combat was "watching my men immediately turn into the warrriors they were trained to be. Many of them already had combat experience in Iraq, so this was nothing new to them.

"They kept us steady and grounded as we returned fire and seized the momentum."

On Jan. 14, 2011, Haugland broke his leg in a non-combat incident three days after his platoon's first firefight. He was sent home for surgery and to recover stateside.

Three months later, his platoon was ambushed and the lead vehicle was struck by a massive roadside bomb. Sgt. Brent Maher, of Honey Creek, was the gunner in the turret and was killed that day. His radio operator, Spc. Dustin Morrison, was severely injured and flown to Germany, along with his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Nick Jedlicka. The driver, Spc. Justin Christiansen, suffered a concussion and returned to duty.

"I was able to attend Sgt. Maher's funeral in Council Bluffs, as I was still stateside recovering from my broken leg," said Haugland. "I wept when I said goodbye to him at the cemetery. I was able to speak with his mother and tell her that her son was my hero.

"That was one of the most somber days of my life and a day that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

After breaking his leg, it was clear he could no longer stay in the infantry, so he transferred to the JAG corps in 2012.

He is now on active duty with National Guard Bureau as a special victims counsel. In that role, he represents victims of sexual assault in the military and defends their rights in the military justice system.

Before going back on active duty in June 2016, he was previously the deputy state director of Concerned Veterans for America-Iowa, a veteran nonprofit, and led efforts to reform the Veterans Administration and ensure veterans were registered to vote in Iowa.

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016

 

 

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