SD National Guard unit to arrive home Saturday in ChamberlainCHAMBERLAIN — Members of the 200th Engineer Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard have returned to the United States and will be back home Saturday, following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
By: MARCUS TRAXLER, The Daily Republic
CHAMBERLAIN — Members of the 200th Engineer Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard have returned to the United States and will be back home Saturday, following a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
The 184 members of the company, which has worked to maintain, repair and replace existing military bridges in Afghanistan, is based in Pierre, Chamberlain and Mobridge. The company left last May for a year of active duty.
The soldiers have been at Fort Dix, N.J., since May 2 completing what is known as the de-mobilization process, doing paperwork and screenings before making their way back to South Dakota.
The company will leave Sioux Falls on Saturday morning and travel to Pierre, where a parade will be held prior to the company’s deactivation. The deactivation ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Riggs High School in Pierre. Gov. Dennis Daugaard will be a featured speaker at the program along with Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the adjutant general of the state’s National Guard.
About 50 members of the Chamberlain unit will then be escorted from Pierre to Oacoma by a motorcycle convoy, where the parade route will begin at approximately 2 p.m. The parade will start at Exit 260 in Oacoma and will follow Highway 16 through town and over the Chamberlain-Oacoma Bridge, continuing down Main Street in Chamberlain to Barger Park and finishing at the armory.
Immediately following the parade, there will be a short program before the soldiers are released to their families.
April Reis, executive director of the Chamberlain-Oacoma Area Chamber of Commerce, is in charge of the area’s ceremony and said that she has been working on the planning since April. She said the arrival time wasn’t nailed down until this week.
“People have been waiting on pins and needles, and there’s definitely a lot of excitement,” Reis said.