Looks like as good a place as any to sit.
Remember in the Walk when I told you about an email I received from a Sgt. Robert Hagen, currently serving in Afghanistan? Well, guess what? You now get a chance to meet him. Turns out he was willing to participate in our little interview series, and what better day to get his reply than today?
This guy is in it. A mortar operator, making it rain on the enemy. I am not sure if I am more excited for getting the chance to converse with Sgt. Hagen, or if I am now more terrified for his safety. Perhaps both. No matter what, I am glad he got back to us, and I am thankful he is out there, defending our freedom everyday.
Without further ado, Sgt. Robert Hagen.
Name: Robert Hagen
Branch of Service: Army
Current Rank (or last rank): SGT
MOS: 11C Indirect Fire Infantry
Hockey Wilderness: How long have you served?
Robert Hagen: 8 years
HW: What do you do in your day to day work for the military?
RH: I provide indirect fire support (mortars) for COP Spera in eastern Afghanistan
HW: Have you ever been deployed? If so, how many times, where to, and for how long?
RH: 2 deployments to Iraq, and currently in Afghanistan, been here now almost 10 months
HW: How did you keep up with Wild news and happening? Were you able to watch or listen to games?
RH: First tour, mainly just checking scores online, last tour I listened to a few games on wild.com and this tour (when the internet is fast enough) I watch games on Gamecenter.
(Author's note: Dear Mr. DiLorenzo... I think this should be free for deployed troops. Make it happen)
HW: What are the five top reasons why you love hockey?
RH: Speed, Hitting, excitement, skill, fights
HW: Why are you a Wild fan?
RH: Hometown team I love MN
HW: Who is your favorite Wild player?
RH: Clutter, guy just works all the time.
HW: Who is your favorite NHL player (current or former)?
RH: Patrick Roy, one of the best ever and my wife was a Red Wings fan so, its always fun to argue about.
You and your wife go ahead and fight it out. Just stay in your respective creases, OK?
HW: Anything you would like to add? Message home? A shout out to friends? To the team? This is your space. What you got?
RH: Thank you to everyone back home for your support. Heather, Alexa (daughter), and the rest of my family. I miss you all greatly and I'll be home soon. Wild, I like what I'm seeing, keep it up, I'll probably see you in Nashville in a couple of months!
Wow. I gotta tell ya, when I started this little idea of interviewing military Wild fans, I never in a million years thought someone currently serving in a theater of war would be responding to it. The fact that the reply came in on Veteran's Day is just a fantastic twist of fate.
Please, Sgt. Hagen, for the love of everything good, stay safe over there. Kick some ass, but stay safe. We look forward to hearing from you again in the future. If you are ever back home, give us a shout. We owe you a beer.