Soldier returns to help recruit future heroes


Sawyer Dunbar

Nicholas Gustafson, Army National Guard Recruitment Officer, sets up at lunch on September 22 giving students the opportunity to enlist with education benefits. These include free education, and in some cases getting paid to go to school.

By Sawyer Dunbar, Reporter

After serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, Army Recruitment Officer Nicholas Gustafson says that his worldview was expanded and he learned just how much Americans take for granted. In regards to the many Afghanistan citizens taking refuge in Wisconsin, at Fort McCoy, Gustafson is glad they are safe.

“It’s great our country opened up to those who needed help,” Gustafson says.

However, he wasn’t too thrilled about the way the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, saying, “I knew it needed to happen, but wasn’t pleased with the way it was conducted.” 

Gustafson enlisted at 19, because of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 against the United States. He felt as though he had a duty to protect his country, but not for revenge, more for protection. He also saw potential in the education benefits, the ability to travel, and the training experience. Over the time he spent in Afghanistan he learned how different other cultures are. Friends hold hands, kisses on the cheek, and hugs are common. Before he left, Gustafson had established several relationships with citizens. This emphasis on friendship in culture provides insight as to how Afghanistan must feel after being so abruptly abandoned. 

Over thirteen-thousand Afghan citizens are housed in Wisconsin at Fort McCoy as of Sept. 26. Around 800 Red Cross Workers have been helping since refugees started arriving in August. They have provided 1.9 million relief items and 385,000 meals and snacks, making a huge impact on many of their lives. These refugees are going to be housed permanently once they finish the immigration process. They have also received many clothing donations from generous Americans. Anyone in the community can help, too. Reach out to The Salvation Army, The Journey Disaster Response Team, Goodwill, and to donate.

Where to reach out: SSG Nicholas Gustafson – Recruiting and retention NCO

Office: 715 392 7870

Cell: 715 307 4894

Fax: 715 392 7876