South Dakota National Guard units mobilize for active duty

South Dakota National Guard units mobilize for active duty South Dakota's most recent National Guard unit to be alerted has now received its order to mobilize. Placed on alert Jan. 16, the 200th Engineer Company, of Pierre, Chamberlain, and Mobridge was activated on Friday, Jan. 24, to support the efforts of Operation Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom.

About 180 soldiers make up the 200th and its two detachments. Selected members from the 854th Quartermaster Detachment of Lemmon were called up to bring the 200th up to full strength. The 854th is a former bridge company.

Last year, the 200th became the first National Guard unit in the nation to be selected to become a multi-role bridge company and is capable of providing both fixed and floating bridges.

The 200th is uniquely equipped with the assult float ribbon bridge and two medium girder bridges. The 200th uses its jet-propelled boats and floating bridge bays to build a temporary bridge that can span 200 meters. It also can configure the bays into rafts to transport vehicles and supplies across waterways. Each of medium girder bridges can span a gap of 112 feet.

The 200th is one of the top bridge companies in the Army. the headquarters of the 200th Engineer Company is located in Pierre and consists of Detachment 1 in Chamberlain and Detachment 2 in Mobridge.

The unit commander is Capt. Kelly Stout of Highmore and 1st Sgt. David VanCleave, Rapid City, is the senior non-commissioned officer.

The 200th is the fourth S.D. National Guard unit to be activated in the past three weeks. The 727th Transportation Company of Watertown, Brookings and Elk Point, the 665th Maintenance Company of Mitchell and Rapid City, and 109th Engineer Battalion Headquarters of Sturgis were alerted and activated into federal service during that time period. The four units total about 480 soldiers.

The 665th (120) will provide security for Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City and Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls by mid-February.

The 109th (39) Engineer Battalion Headquarters departed for Fort Carson, CO, Sunday, Jan. 19.

The 727th Transportation has been activated and departed for its mobilization station Thursday, Jan. 23.

Missions for the 109th, 727th and 200th are not known at this time.

Operation Noble Eagle is the military effort in fighting the war against terrorism and involves homeland defense and support to federal, state and local agencies within the United States. Operation Enduring Freedom involves operations outside the country.

Fifty-five Army Guard soldiers from Rapid City's 155th Engineer Detachment are serving in Kuwait. They arrived in Kuwait in early July and could serve up to a year there.

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