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Staff Sgt. David Bendickson helps his oldest son Mathias, 6, with homework Feb. 12 at a hotel in Apple Valley on their last night together before his deployment. AP Photo/The Pioneer Press, Sherri LaRose-Chiglo

Belgrade guardsman reflects on duty to country, family

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ST. PAUL (AP) -- David Bendickson is checking homework in camouflage and combat boots.

In a cramped Apple Valley hotel room on Feb. 12, the Minnesota National Guard staff sergeant is timing his 6-year-old son, Mathias, keeping him focused.

The boy has two minutes left on his math.

Bendickson has 12 hours left with his family.

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