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155th Engineer Co. receives Reserve Family Readiness Award

WAGNER -- Nearly a year after returning from Kuwait, the 155th Engineer Company received national recognition for its work to support military families.

Soldiers with the 155th Engineer Company are welcomed home during a July ceremony at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. (File photo)
Soldiers with the 155th Engineer Company are welcomed home during a July ceremony at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City. (File photo)

WAGNER - Nearly a year after returning from Kuwait, the 155th Engineer Company received national recognition for its work to support military families.

The Rapid City-and Wagner-based Army National Guard unit was honored with the United States Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award on Friday at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C., drawing praise from U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and U.S. Sen. John Thune.

The award, established in 2000, is given to the unit in each of the seven services that demonstrates excellence in engaging with and supporting their members' families, according to the Department of Defense. The 155th is the only National Guard unit in the country to receive the award.

Noem called the award an "incredible tribute" to the integrity and values of the South Dakota National Guard, and also took time to express gratitude for the servicemen's families.

"I am deeply grateful to those who volunteer to serve in our military, but service is not something only those in uniform do. Their families serve alongside them, too, making sacrifices so our guardsmen and women can protect the freedoms you and I exercise every day," Noem said. "I am incredibly proud of the 155th Engineering Company's accomplishments and their unrelenting commitment to family readiness."

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Thune, too, thanked the families of the 155th for each of their sacrifices and commitment to the United States that often go unseen.

"The men and women of the South Dakota National Guard are among the best of the best, so it's no surprise to see the 155th Engineer Company being recognized by the Department of Defense for their commitment to family readiness," Thune said. "I want to congratulate them on receiving this award and thank their families for the many sacrifices they make on a daily basis, too."

Family readiness programs, like the 155th, are a "vital link in the support networks for Reserve Component families," and support in critical missions worldwide, according to the DoD. Representatives from the unit received a commemorative plaque and framed certificate, as well as a certificate of recognition and award from the Military Officers Association of America.

The 155th Engineer Co., which deployed in August 2015 to Kuwait and returned in July 2016, was the second mobilization of the unit. The 155th deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Noble Eagle in 2002-2003.

Other winners

• Army Reserve: 461st Engineer Company, Fargo, North Dakota.

• Marine Corps Reserve: Marine Air Control Group 48, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Great Lakes, Illinois.

• Navy Reserve: Navy Operational Support Center San Jose, San Jose, California.

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• Air National Guard: 123rd Airlift Wing, Louisville, Kentucky.

• Air Force Reserve: 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana.

• Coast Guard Reserve: Port Security Unit 307 Clearwater, Florida.

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