PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Members of the South Dakota National Guard’s 200th Engineer Company were welcomed back to central South Dakota this morning with waving flags, welcome home signs and applause; as part of a short parade through Fort Pierre and Pierre and a deactivation ceremony at Riggs High School. The guardsmen and women have served in Afghanistan for more than 10 months. A deployment ceremony was held for the soldiers May 14-almost a year ago in Pierre. They flew into the southeast part of the state early this morning after spending about a week in Fort Dix, New Jersey and were bussed to Fort Pierre from Sioux Falls. A welcome home ceremony was held at Riggs High gym and included comments from officials that included South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune, Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill, Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball, South Dakota’s Adjutant General-Major General Timothy Reisch and Governor Dennis Daugaard. Daugaard told the packed gym that last year at this time, everyone gathered with mixed emotions-from pride to anxiety-but today, there was nothing but joy to see the unit return.
Daugaard said the guard members sacrificed the past year-and their family members and employees have handled a heavier load, as well.
Captain James Forbes, Commander of the 200th, thanked the communities of Pierre, Chamberlain and Mobridge for the support that has been offered over the year and says it is good to be back in the state.
At the end of the more than hour long ceremony, the Governor and military members stood as orders were read, releasing the guard from active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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