Soldiers of the 200th Engineer Company reunited with family, friends and community members Saturday in Pierre after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The 184 Soldiers of the 200th received a hero’s welcome, as hundreds of people gathered to cheer and greet the returning South Dakota Army National Guard unit along the streets of Fort Pierre and Pierre. More than 2,000 people were in attendance at Riggs High School for a welcome home ceremony held in their honor.
Governor Dennis Daugaard, Senator John Thune, Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill, Fort Pierre Mayor Sam Tidball, and Major General Tim Reisch, the adjutant general of the SDNG, were featured speakers at the ceremony and congratulated them for a job well done.
Daugaard thanked the soldiers for what they did for fellow Americans, fellow South Dakotans and for the people of Afghanistan,” said. Daugaard visited Afghanistan in April and said it gave him some perspective as to what the past year has been like for the guard members.
Reisch said the “South Dakota National Guard has a tremendous legacy that goes back 150 years, and this unit – without question – has extended that legacy.” He says he very much enjoys the chance to visit with troops after they arrive home from service overseas.
Captain James Forbes, 200th commander, said the Soldiers did an outstanding job in Afghanistan. He said they really helped that country’s people. It was his first overseas duty and he says it was tough being away from family.
Forbes says now, members of the 200th have about a month of leave.
Senator Thune said that the 200th deserve thanks for the time they have given for their state and their country.
Mayor Gill echoed Thune’s words and says people should express appreciation to the guardsmen and women for what they have done.
Mayor Tidball says local citizens did a great job in lining Fort Pierre and Pierre streets to say welcome back to the troops on Saturday morning.
The 200th, of Pierre, Chamberlain and Mobridge, deployed in May 2011 as a multi-role bridging unit with a mission to maintain, repair and replace existing military bridges throughout Afghanistan.
While in Afghanistan, members of the 200th built five bridges, deconstructed one, completed 54 bridge repair missions, conducted 10 reconnaissance missions to support theater engineer operations, and conducted 16 inspection missions to support theater bridging operations.
Comment Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the comments section of DakotaRadioGroup.com are solely those of the comment author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by DakotaRadioGroup.com.