Written by Devon Boen
Darin Dimas grew up in New Mexico and graduated from Poplar High School in 1980. During the 1980s, he attended college, got married, worked in the oil fields and joined the Montana National Guard.
In 1987, he was trained as a cavalry scout in Fort Knox, Ky., but came back to Montana shortly after to raise his family. Dimas and his wife, Jane, have two sons, Colter and Cory, and one daughter, Mariah. Both his sons are on active duty in the Army.
Since joining the National Guard, Dimas has done firefighting for Montana and has been trained in Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado and Wyoming, among other places. Although his military service had taken him across the country, he hadn’t ever been deployed overseas.
In 2010, he was informed his 260th Engineering Company would be sent to Afghanistan in the spring of 2012. The company was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, for training and Dimas began preparing on his own. He said he read books about the history of Afghanistan and Afghan culture to gain a better understanding of where he would be living.
The 260th was stationed at Camp Leatherneck and had the job of doing route clearance. Dimas was one of the first drivers in a long line of Husky vehicles and Roller vehicles. This meant he would be on the front line if an improvised explosive device detonated unexpectedly.
Four bombs went off without warning while Dimas was driving. He said it was over before he knew it and he could only focus on the fact that he was still alive.
Dimas explained one of the hardest parts of his deployment was watching his friends put their lives on the line. He and staff sergeant Nufry Boysun were good friends and Dimas watched as Boysun’s Husky vehicle went over an IED. He didn’t know immediately if his friend was alright but, thanks to the quality of the vehicles, Boysun survived unscathed.
When his company wasn’t on a route clearance mission, Dimas talked to his family via Skype.
Dimas, as his preliminary research of Afghan culture indicated, was interested in meeting the local people. He hardly had that opportunity at Camp Leatherneck, but was able to speak with two young civilian boys one time. He said the boys asked him to teach them how to read and write. Of course, Dimas couldn’t do that.
“You feel frustrated that you can’t help them,” Dimas said.
Dimas said a lot of the Afghan people located near Camp Leatherneck lived in poverty and constant danger. Although Dimas couldn’t aid them in their aspirations to read and write, he did offer some words of comfort.
“I told them I hope their lives get better. I told them we’re here to help,” Dimas said.
Unlike many other members of the 260th, Dimas didn’t return home March 22. His travels were delayed because of military scheduling. Dimas traveled to Kurdistan, Germany, Iceland, Delaware and Texas before finally returning to Montana April 1 where his wife and entire family awaited his return.