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South Dakota National Guard

The purpose of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is to support national objectives by providing highly trained units capable of mobilizing for active federal service in time of war or national emergencies; to provide units organized, manned, trained, and equipped to assist civil authorities in the protection of life and property; to preserve order and public safety under direction of the Governor; to protect lives and property through direction and coordination of state and local government in preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery from damages sustained by natural security emergency or disaster events; to aid and assist veterans and their dependents in security local, state, and federal entitlements/services for which they are eligible; and to provide a comfortable independent living environment, along with adequate medical support, for eligible veterans and their spouses, widows, or widowers.

The South Dakota Army National Guard remains strong with more than 3,500 soldiers. It maintains 32 armories, and is present in 31 communities. Major components of the SDARNG include field artillery, engineer, transportation, aviation, maintenance and medical units.

During FY99, South Dakota hosted its 15th annual Golden Coyote exercise in the Black Hills. The two-week annual training mission involved about 1,500 soldiers. Throughout June and July, SD's 196th Regional Training Institute hosted the Region G-OCS Phase I and the Nation OCS Phase II courses at Ft. Meade, SD. In early June a devastating tornado leveled the small town of Oglala, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The South Dakota ARNG's response was immediate. 20 soldiers from various units of Rapid City's 109th Engineer Group helped with search and rescue and provided security by patrolling the area. Replacements and equipment rolled in at daylight including generators, water trailers, light sets, humvees and tents. Members set up kitchen operations in a local building and began serving meals to workers assisting in the recovery operations. Overall, the SDARNG effort involved 91 personnel for a total of 441 mandays.

The State of South Dakota was originally a part of the Dakota Territory organized in 1861. It became a State in 1889. Territorial Governor Jayne in 1862 ordered the formation of six companies of militia, composed of cavalry and infantry. By September of 1862 Companies A and B, First Dakota Cavalry were federalized and served until November, 1865. These units were attached to General Sully, commander of the Upper Missouri, and covered an area from Sioux City, Iowa up the Missouri River into present-day Montana. The First Dakota Cavalry served General Sully in protecting the settlers from the Indians during the Civil War. It was involved in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain and the Battle of the Badlands, both of which were in present-day North Dakota.

In April, 1898 the First Infantry Regiment was federalized and left South Dakota for the Philippines in May, 1898, and returned to South Dakota in October,1899, when they were welcomed home by President McKinley at Aberdeen, South Dakota. They had served 129 days in combat in the Philippines under General Arthur MacArthur, the Division Commander.

South Dakota also furnished five troops of cavalry in 1898, which were assigned to the 3rd U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, known as "Grigsbys Cowboys". They went to Camp Chickmaunga, Georgia, and served out their term there and were discharged in December of 1898.

On July 15, 1916, the South Dakota Fourth Infantry Regiment mustered into service for duty along the Mexican Border. They left from Camp Hagman near Redfield, South Dakota on July 31, 1916, for San Benito, Texas. Along with the First Oklahoma Infantry, they served until March 3, 1917. The First Louisiana Infantry and the 26th U.S. Infantry were assigned to the First Separate Brigade, commanded by Colonel Robert L. Bullard, U.S. Army. The South Dakota Troops spent seven months on the border, training and watching. They were mustered out at Fort Cook, Nebraska, on March 3, 1917

On March 25, 1917, the Third Battalion of the Fourth South Dakota Infantry was mobilized to guard bridges on the Missouri and the James Rivers. On July 15, 1917, both the South Dakota Fourth Infantry Regiment and the First Cavalry Regiment were mobilized. The units from South Dakota were reorganized into other types of units and returned from France in 1919 and were demobilized on May 23, 1919.

The South Dakota units ended up in the 40th, 41st, 32d, 34th, and the 88th Divisions, being reorganized into Artillery, Supply Trains, Machine Gun Battalions or replacements for other units. The 147th Artillery Regiment participated in the following battles in France. Taul-Boueq, Center Sector, Champagne-Marne, Aiene-Marne, Oisne-Marne, Avscourt, and Meuse-Argonne, from June 12, 1918, through November 11, 1918. They were demobilized at Camp Dodge, Iowa on May 23, 1919.

On November 25, 1940, units of the South Dakota Army National Guard were called up for a one year training period. The 147th Field Artillery Regiment was the first to go on active duty at Camp Ord, California. After training at Camp Ord they embarked on November 22,1941, for duty in the Philippine Islands. They departed Pearl harbor, Hawaii, on November 30, 1941 and were west of Pearl Harbor on to December 7, 1941, then were diverted Brisbane, Australia. They were in Australia until 1943 and after some reorganizations, they began the long battle of retaking the various islands of the Pacific and were part of the occupation of Japan. The 147th was inactivated in January of 1946.

On February 10, 1941, the 109th Engineer Regiment, 109th Quartermaster Regiment, and the 34th Signal Company, were called into active service, and assembled with the 34th Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. The 34th Division which contained the South Dakota units set sail for Ireland on January 14, 1942. The 1st Battalion, 109th Quartermaster and Company A, 109th Engineers were part of this movement, and the first soldier to disembark in Ireland, was a soldier from Pierre named Baer Schliussmann. The 34th Division landed in Oran, North Africa in January, 1943. They participated in the North Africa Campaign, the Italian Campaign and the occupation of Northern Italy after May of 1945.

The other reorganized units went to Corsica, France and Germany. The South Dakota troops were discharged in 1945 and 1946 as individuals, not units.

In July 1950 South Dakota National Guard units were mobilized with the 196th Regimental Combat Team going to Alaska. The Combat Team was made up of three battalions of infantry; the 147th Field Artillery Battalion, the 200th Engineer Company, and a medical detachment. All South Dakota soldiers were returned home off active duty in 1952.

In 1990, the South Dakota National Guard mobilized 6 units for duty in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. South Dakota Units participating were the 109th Engineer Group, 730th Medical Company, 1742nd Transportation Company, 740th Transportation Company, 747th Highway Regulating Team, and 57th Movement Control Team.

In December, 1995, the 57th Movement Control Team was again activated for service overseas. The 57th had received numerous awards and citations for its efforts in the Gulf War and was again called upon for duty. The unit, Commanded by Captain Andy Gerlach, worked with V Corps to transport units from Germany and the United States into the Bosnian Theater of Operations. The 57th was instrumental in moving the largest land deployment in Europe since World War II.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:34:35 ZULU