BEULAH, N.D. (KXNET) — He trained in the heat of South Carolina, crawled in the mountains of Utah, met the love of his life in Germany, and was deployed three times.
This is U.S. Army Sergeant Todd Kost’s story:
“My mom has a picture that I drew when I was in, like, probably third grade of me in the military. So, it’s all I ever wanted to be was a soldier,” said Todd Kost, a retired sergeant in the U.S. Army.
And that is what Todd Kost did immediately following graduation, and he had his mind set on two things.
“I love taking things apart and putting them back together. And I said, I want to be a mechanic, and I want my first duty station to be in Germany. And they’re like, we don’t guarantee nothing. So I’m like, okay, well, we’ll see what the Army’s got to offer. So I went to the army,” said Kost.
Basic training took him to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
“I was probably one of the few people that actually enjoyed basic training, I had so much fun. It was learning all this new stuff, you know, doing soldier stuff. It’s what I always wanted,” Kost added.
Todd excelled, qualifying as an expert marksman, and even taught other trainees how to shoot.
After basic training, he went to Advanced Individual Training, or AIT, and learned mechanic skills.
Soon after, during the Cold War in 1985, Todd was sent to Germany.
“I was originally supposed to be assigned to the 11th ACR, which is a combat unit right in the Fulda gap, which is where if Russia was to invade, you know, the West, they were going to come through that gap. And so they were basically the frontlines of defense,” Kost said.
While waiting in reception for the bus, a captain came in and said he was looking for drivers and mechanics, and Todd happened to be a mechanic.
“He says, you come with me. So I went with him. And I ended up getting stationed with fifth corps headquarters out of Frankfurt, Germany,” Kost added.
Todd also met Joann, whose father was a civilian contractor for the government. They married in Heidelberg, Germany in 1987, and she went wherever he was assigned.
“Me and my amazing wife, who has put up with a lot in 35 years. Put up with a lot of deployments, a lot of time gone. A lot of raising the kids on her own,” Kost said.
Todd remained in Germany for four years and then decided to leave the Army.
A couple of years later, a friend recommended he join the Reserves, and so he did in 1990.
“That was a really good unit, I really enjoyed my time with them. And that kind of renewed my faith,” Kost added.
Todd was deployed to the Gulf War in 1991 for about 10 months.
Once back in the U.S., he specifically requested to work support for the National Guard 19 Special Forces Group in Camp Williams, Utah, where he earned his sergeant stripes.
This required taking a professional leadership development course, and the ability to complete land navigation by yourself, which was a piece of cake for Todd since he was taught by one of the best of the best.
“A Greenbrae taught me land navigation, which yeah, hardcore. And in the mountains of Utah, no doubt that that was crazy and it was at night,” said Kost.
In 1994, Todd and his wife moved to North Dakota and he joined the 439th Engineers.
He was deployed to Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and while Todd fought for our country, he says he never had to worry about his kids or home life, because of who his wife was.
“She grew up around the military. And she understood, you know, the ups and downs, you know, what happens,” said Kost.
Todd remained in the reserves until he had to medically retire in 2007 due to suffering from ruptured discs in his back while in Iraq.
“It was tough at first because I wasn’t ready to get out. I wanted to do 30 years. But I did 22 years, and I felt like I contributed, you know, I trained some good soldiers that are going to take the next generation forward, you know? And, you know, I think that’s, that’s what I have to look at,” Kost added.
Now, Todd travels for his work with J and S Sanitation out of Beulah.