St. Theresa Middle School students welcomed an Army National Guard officer as their Veterans Day guest of honor.

Maj. Gary Mooney, the acting inspector general of the Louisiana Army National Guard, spoke to the students about his experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, and brought them items of interest from both of his trips overseas for the students to see.

The major spoke of his time in Afghanistan, where he went in 2002 as a member of the 769th Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion. There, he told the students, his detachment worked daily with Polish and German military members to clear the Bagram Air Field of land mines deployed by the Soviets and members of the Taliban.

The work was done with the assistance of mine-clearing dogs who were trained to detect land mines, he said, and he described the risks involved in dealing with land mines.

Mooney also told the students of his time in Iraq in 2008, when he served with the 165th Combat Sustainment Supply Battalion, which worked to clear all land mines and other explosives from the routes taken by the battalion.