Bucklin pens history of S.D. National Guard

Bucklin pens history of S.D. National Guard Dr. Steven J. Bucklin, a professor at The University of South Dakota and a former guardsman, has authored the first history of the South Dakota National Guard in over 40 years.

Bucklin's second book, From Cold War to Gulf War: The South Dakota National Guard, 1945 to the Millennium, is now available.

Bucklin will be holding a reading and signing copies of his book at 7 p.m. on April 8 in Farber Hall of Old Main at the Vermillion campus. The event is free and open to the public and books will be available for purchase.

The book examines the Cold War period from May 1945 to August 1991, the evolution of the New World Order from 1991-2001, and includes a brief assessment of the war declared against Saddam Hussein and his regime in March 2003.

The SDNG has been involved in many momentous events over that time span. Since 1945, the men and women of the SDNG have been called to active federal duty during the Korean War in 1950, the Berlin Crisis in 1961, Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama in 1989, the Gulf War in 1990, the Bosnia and Kosovo peace-keeping missions in the 1990s, and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003.

At home, they have been called to active state duty to battle forest fires and to settle a riot at the state penitentiary in the 1950s; to battle the threatening waters of the Big Sioux River and to save stranded livestock in the 1960s; to save lives during and after the Rapid City Flood and to help during the Wounded Knee Crisis in the 1970s; to build roads and bridges in the state's parks, to interdict drug trafficking, and to aid the victims of natural disasters like the residents of tornado-stricken Spencer during the 1980s and 1990s.

In one of the more fascinating chapters, Bucklin chronicles the involvement of the SDNG in the 1972 Rapid City flood, one of South Dakota's worst natural disasters. Tales of heroism are intermingled with exhaustive details of that fatal night in a section certain to capture reader's interest.

Bucklin, an associate professor of history at USD, has spent the last six years researching and writing the book. He consulted numerous sources in this panoramic history of the SDNG.

Those sources include the the state archives in Pierre and the national archives in Washington, DC, the SDNG Oral History Project at Northern State University, the holdings of various SDNG units, and from the SDNG Museum in Pierre.

He also relied on the memories of current SDNG personnel to provide the story of the modern SDNG.

One source that was of significant help to Bucklin's project was the oral history collection at Northern State University. However, the collection contains no interviews of veterans after 1980.

In an attempt to remedy this, Bucklin is donating 10 percent of the cover-cost of his book to finance the collection of SDNG veteran's oral histories at The University of South Dakota.

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