News: Ceremony marks end of Guard’s historic service in Redfield
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Beck
REDFIELD, S.D. - A restationing ceremony was held for Company A, 139th Brigade Support Battalion, South Dakota Army National Guard, on Friday, June 21 at the Redfield armory. The ceremony marked the end of an era of National Guard units that have served in this community for nearly 130 years.
Company A, 139th BSB, is the last Guard unit to serve in Redfield before being restationed to Watertown and its new state-of-the-art regional readiness center. The unit leaves behind the armory that has housed Soldiers for more than 50 years, but the memories and respect of the community for which they served they will take with them.
About 100 people turned out to witness the ceremony and to pay their respects to a unit the community held in very high esteem. Redfield Mayor Jamie Akin expressed the depth of the relationship the town felt with its National Guard unit.
“(The 139th BSB) has been an integral member of our community for as long as any of us here can remember,” said Akin. “How do you say ‘thank you’ to a member who has provided us such great leadership and role models to look up to?”
Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG, spoke of the history of the Guard in Redfield, dating back to before South Dakota’s statehood.
“Citizens put their hands in the air and said ‘hey, I’ll show up and I’ll protect the people’ and that was the start of the Dakota Territorial militia, which became the South Dakota National Guard,” said Reisch. “This unit has been alive in one form or another until today.”
Reisch went on to speak of the accomplishments of the unit, citing the fact that they received the Eisenhower Trophy, an award given to the top company-level unit in the state each year, eight times.
“This is a true testimony of the great quality of people who served here,” said Reisch. “ This is a phenomenal community of support.”
With the ceremonial casing of the unit guidon, Company A, 139th BSB, was officially transferred to Watertown, where they will continue to serve the people of South Dakota, especially the community of Redfield.
History of the SDNG in Redfield:
The origins of the South Dakota National Guard in Redfield date back to the early history of the organization, beginning with Company D, 1st Regiment of the Dakota Territory in 1884, before statehood. Since that time, Guard units from Redfield have been called to federal service in support of the
Mexican-Border Crisis, Korean War, and Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Guard units from Redfield have also been called up numerous times to support South Dakotans during natural disasters and emergency operations for floods, tornados, wildfires and winter storms.
Throughout its history, Redfield Guard units, such as Battery C, 2-147th Field Artillery, has won many awards, including; the Colonel K.R. Scurr Superior Unit Award (seven times); the Eisenhower Trophy for the Most Outstanding Unit in the state of South Dakota (eight times); and the Meritorious Unit Citation for its deployment in Iraq. Company A, 139th BSB, also received the Superior Unit Award in 2012.
1884-1904 Company D, 1st Regiment
1904-1916 Company G, 2nd Regiment
1947-1956 Company G, 196th Infantry Regiment
1956-1959 Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 642nd Field Artillery Battalion
1959-1968 Battery C, 642nd Field Artillery Battalion
1968-2007 Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery
2007-2013 Alpha Company, 139th Brigade Support Battalion