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Parkston celebrates 'superheroes' at community recognition event

There's no doubt the 153rd Engineer Battalion's Forward Support Company's most recent deployment was a success. On Saturday afternoon, hours after returning to South Dakota from a 10-month deployment to the Middle East, the FSC's commander Marc R...

A crowd gathers prior to a community recognition event for the 153rd's Forward Support Company Saturday afternoon in Parkston. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
A crowd gathers prior to a community recognition event for the 153rd's Forward Support Company Saturday afternoon in Parkston. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

There's no doubt the 153rd Engineer Battalion's Forward Support Company's most recent deployment was a success.

On Saturday afternoon, hours after returning to South Dakota from a 10-month deployment to the Middle East, the FSC's commander Marc Rieger outlined some of the unit's major accomplishments, including their effort to serve more than 700,000 meals, pump 2.5 million gallons of fuel and travel 47,000 miles while overseas.

And that kind of work - providing logistics and maintenance support - is why the FSC was deployed, Parkston Councilman Kurt Henke said, calling members of the group "superheroes."

"Everybody prayed you would come back ... You were never forgotten, I can tell you that," Henke said during a community recognition ceremony for the unit Saturday afternoon at Parkston High School. "There is no smile wide enough to offer you the 'thank you' that you deserve for the dedication and sacrifices you have made."

The ceremony was held after an official deactivation ceremony in Huron and a short parade, mostly featuring soldiers driving with their families down Parkston's Main Street.

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And while much of the 30-minute ceremony was dedicated to welcoming the soldiers home, time was also carved out to thank their families.

Col. Pat Pardy addressed the families, calling them "veterans" because they also sacrificed time with their loved ones.

He also called the soldiers "a great group of men and women" and urged them to remember that their families have created a new normal in their absence, and that it may take a while to readjust to civilian life.

"These people have been working so hard so you can do your job, so just take your time, relax and remember you're not in charge," Pardy said. "Thank you for your service - that includes soldiers, families, friends, whoever you are. And welcome home FSC."

Children cheer as cars full of soldiers with the 153rd's Forward Support Company drive by Saturday afternoon in Parkston. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
Children cheer as cars full of soldiers with the 153rd's Forward Support Company drive by Saturday afternoon in Parkston. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

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