PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Soldiers of the South Dakota National Guard’s 200th Engineer Company will arrive in Pierre Saturday to officially complete a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The 200th, of Pierre, Chamberlain and Mobridge, is a multi-role bridging unit whose mission is to maintain, repair and replace existing military bridges. They arrived in the U.S. May 2 and have spent the past week at Fort Dix, New Jersey completing demobilizing requirements. The troops will return to central S.D. Saturday and will be honored by local Fort Pierre and Pierre citizens as they will be transported from the Stanley County Fairgrounds to Riggs High School starting at 8:45 a.m. that morning. They will be carried on trailers from the fairgrounds, along the highway in Fort Pierre to the bridge; then follow Sioux Avenue east to Wells and will travel north on Jefferson Avenue-ending at Riggs High School. A deactivation ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m. at the school. People are being asked to line the route and offer their thanks to the guard members for their service as they pass by. Governor Dennis Daugaard says he will be one of those standing along the route, cheering on the arriving soldiers.
Daugaard is encouraging everyone to join him in welcoming members of the 200th back to Central South Dakota.
The program at Riggs High School will include a performance by the Riggs High School Drum Line, the Capital City Children’s Chorus will sing the National Anthem and a Lakota Honor Song will also be provided by Wakiyan Maza. Speakers will be Governor Dennis Daugaard, Adjutant General Timothy Reisch, Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball and Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill. Join 1060-KGFX and 1300-KOLY for coverage of the ceremony on Saturday. We will also stream the program on our website at www.drgnews.com. Simply mouse over the words in the orange bar that says “Listen Live” and click on KGFX-AM for the audio.
Community welcoming ceremonies are also planned in Chamberlain/Oacoma and Mobridge after the Pierre ceremony.
A parade will be held in Oacoma Saturday, starting at approximately 2:00 p.m. The route will go from the Interstate to Highway 16 and the Chamberlain-Oacoma Bridge, down Main Street to Barger Park and to the Armory, via the truck route. After the parade, there will be a short program at the Armory. Organizers warn Chamberlain area residents that the 2:00 p.m. time is not set in stone, and could change if the schedule for earlier in the day does not go as planned.
In Mobridge, troops will also be paraded through town, with the planned route to follow East Grand Crossing, south and then back north on Main Street, on West Grand Crossing, then north on 12th Avenue West and ending at the High School. Mobridge will also host a short welcome home ceremony at the school and is expecting that to take place sometime around mid-afternoon.
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