News: Pierre Guard unit honored at deployment ceremony
Story by Maj. Anthony Deiss
PIERRE, S.D. - Sixty-eight soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion were honored during a deployment ceremony Saturday, July 6 in Pierre.
Hundreds of family members, friends and community supporters gathered at the T.F. Riggs High School auditorium to see the soldiers off as they depart for about a six-month tour to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Speakers for the ceremony included Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the adjutant general of the SDNG.
“This is a great day, because this (ceremony) brings us together because of our love for the soldiers that are being deployed today,” said Daugaard. “Our admiration for their great competence, skill, courage, dedication and loyalty to our state and our nation inspires us to come together and show them how much we appreciate them.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of this unit,” said Reisch. “This unit has executed a rigorous training plan to prepare this unit for deployment, and there is no doubt in my mind that your performance during this deployment will add to the impressive legacy of the South Dakota National Guard.”
The mission of the 152nd’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company will be to provide multi-functional combat support and combat service support to forces throughout an assigned area of operation. Multi-functional areas include supply, transportation, maintenance and ordnance support.
“We will do everything possible to go over there and do great things and come home safe. That’s our number one goal,” said Lt. Col. Michael Oster, commander of the 152nd. “Our second goal is to live in a place where excellence is not only our expectation but also that it becomes our average. So on a bad day we’re great and on a good day we are spectacular. That’s what we’re going to do in the 152nd.”
The soldiers that comprise the Pierre-based Guard unit come from 28 different South Dakota communities. While many of the soldiers will be deploying for the first time, more than half of the unit are deploying for the second or third time.
“People from all across South Dakota and are assigned to this unit, and is an incredible representation, not only of the state but of our National Guard,” said Oster. “This unit is truly made up of engineers, artillery transportation, logisticians, and it’s an incredible cross-representation of who we are and what we do. That means you have a great team in front of you to go forward and take on this mission.”
The 152nd will report to Fort Hood, Texas, for several weeks of theater-specific training prior to deployment overseas. The unit received orders last week curtailing their total deployment time by more than 100 days. This is the first deployment for the unit.
“At the same time the National Guard is available to serve our state, it is also available to serve our nation,” said Daugaard. “In the last decade, since the war on terror began, the National Guard has increasingly been relied upon by our nation as our front line just as much as our regular soldiers are called upon. During times of need, we can count on the National Guard.”