Citizen-Soldier Shon Beito performs meritoriously
December 24, 2022
by Jeff Olsen
Shon Beito, a 1988 Roseau High School graduate and former standout wrestler for the Roseau Rams, turned out to be a reluctant interviewee.
He'd rather avoid the limelight after performing honorably during the fall of Afghanistan while serving with the Minnesota Army National Guard in Kabul at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in 2021.
Now a staff sergeant with Bravo Company 2-136, known as the Barbarians much like the Rams, Gators and Warriors, he was recently tracked down.
He and his unit are much more than weekend Warriors.
"We spent a year overseas in the Middle East," said the infantry-trained soldier who, when he is not training or serving in various deployments, owns B N J Plumbing and Heating in Thief River Falls.
B N J Plumbing honors his adult children - Brooklyn, Nick and Jake.
"My two boys are going to be taking over my plumbing company at the end of the year," he said, adding that he won't be totally retired since he will be helping them.
"I will keep the shop. I'm incorporated and they will rent the shop from me. I just sold them the trucks and the shares," he said, adding that he married his high school sweetheart, Crystal, who has helped in their business while also working in other endeavors.
"She will do daycare for our grandkids," he said, mentioning that he joined the Army National Guard in 2008.
"It's almost 15 years now, and I'm an 11 Bravo (infantry). I've enjoyed the guys, and it's been good camaraderie. Can't get a better group of guys," he said, adding that his unit is Bravo Company 2-136.
"We're basically stationed out of Crookston. We have an armory in Thief River too, but our main armory is out of Crookston," said SSGT Beito, mentioning that most of their training is done at Camp Ripley.
He took basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and has served overseas four times.
"But three of them were training missions like in Croatia and Lithuania. In the last deployment, I was gone for a year to the Middle East - Saudia Arabia, Syria, Kuwait and Afghanistan."
When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after the U.S. pulled out, SGT Beito was at the airport on security detail when a suicide bomber killed and injured a number of American military personnel and Afghan civilians.
"We were attached to the 1-194 Bastards and were the only company out of the 2-136 that was in Afghanistan."
SSGT Beito did not go unnoticed during their brief deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Allies Refuge.
As was reported afterwards in the newsletter of Bravo Company 2-136 Infantry, the Barbarians Company Commander Captain Charles Cox and First Sergeant Rodney Welsh singled out then SGT Beito.
One Soldier who particularly excelled in Afghanistan was SGT Shon Beito. He put his civilian skills to use by fixing plumbing issues, acquiring and maintaining generators to provide electricity, volunteering for extra guard shifts, and constantly taking initiative with a positive attitude. SGT Beito was presented a coin by the commander of the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in recognition of his outstanding work.
Citizen-soldier Beito deflected any credit for himself.
"I don't like to be in the limelight," he said, just proud to serve with a fine unit of dedicated soldiers.
"As far as Afghanistan, we were there for the whole pull-out. They basically flew us in there and dropped us at the airport. We pretty much took over an Afghan military compound," he said, adding that his unit assisted those trying to evacuate from Afghanistan.
In 2022, the Thief River Falls businessman and soldier was honored by the American Legion as the recipient of 2022 American Legion Military Achievement Award, a very distinguished honor.
It was a well-deserved honor for the former Roseau resident, who has served honorably for the past 15 years as a citizen-soldier.
Shon is both humbled and honored by this latest distinction.
But he remains low key.
He’s a dedicated soldier who isn’t looking for accolades.