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Minnesota National Guard families prepare for Father's Day calls from dads overseas

Families can’t wait for Father’s Day calls from dads serving overseas
Families can’t wait for Father’s Day calls from dads serving overseas 02:05

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. — Minnesotans will celebrate dads this weekend. But some Father's Day celebrations will have to wait until more than 500 Minnesota National Guard members come home from Kuwait.

For better or worse, the United States Military has become something of a family business. Maj. Sverre Sundgaard has no problem with that.

"My dad told me, 'I always knew you were going to join the military. I just ask you to go to college and get a degree first,'" said Maj. Sundgaard.

He's currently in Kuwait, one of roughly 550 Minnesota soldiers from the 34th Infantry Red Bulls. He's been deployed before as a Marine in Afghanistan, but now he's married with two young children.

"I think they're doing good. My wife's a great mother, so I think we'll all be stronger as a family when I get home."   

Sundgaard Family

The Red Bulls' mission in Kuwait is to train and support regional partners. The War on Terror might be over, but they're still in a rough neighborhood. And that was never more apparent than on April 13, when Iran launched more than 300 missiles at Israel. The U.S., Israel and other allies shot down almost all of them.

Back in Cottage Grove, Sundgaard's wife, Ania, told WCCO she purposely keeps a very busy schedule for the kids, Thor and Zosia. But it starts with a morning call from Dad.

"We know he's going to be back soon. We just keep going," said Ania Sundgaard. "Just think positive and take every day (laughs)!"

They're not the only ones waiting either. The major's dad, Kip Sundgaard, will certainly miss his son this Father's Day. But he says there's no greater gift than family values being passed down from generation to generation.

"You want your kids to learn that it's important to be a giving person and not selfish, and to be willing to sacrifice for other people," said Kip Sundgaard.

The Red Bulls are due home around Christmas. Maj. Sundgaard said that besides being back with family, he's most excited to jump in a lake. It was 112 degrees in Kuwait on Friday.

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