S.D. National Guard units’ time extended in Middle East

S.D. National Guard units' time extended in Middle East South Dakota National Guard officials have announced that the 740th Transportation Company and the 842nd Engineer Company will be extended for an additional 90 to 120 days beyond their scheduled one year, "boots on the ground: tour of duty in the Middle East.

The 740th's 1-year date was April 18 and the 842nd had a one year date of June 3.

Maj. Gen. Michael A. Gorman, the adjutant general, said in a press conference that the news of the delay is regrettable.

"Naturally we are all disappointed. The families are terribly disappointed," he said. "The 740th and the 842nd are both units that are the best in the Army at what they do." We know the situation in Iraq has changed. We are all concerned for the safety of our soldiers in Iraq. That is why the commanders in Iraq have determined we need more soldiers to do the job.

The South Dakota units are among 23 reserve component units from 15 states that were identified as being delayed from their release from active duty. They are among the more than 20,000 soldiers from the Active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve, the leadership in Iraq asked to remain in country. Approximately 25 percent of the 20,000 soldiers are from the National Guard and Army Reserve.

"I would ask all South Dakota citizens, their families and employers to be strong for them," Gorman added. "The soldiers over there serve in very dangerous situations and need to keep their head in the game. We, back home, need to be strong for them so they can do their job."

South Dakota's three transportation companies, the 740th, 1742nd, and 727th have played an important role in moving supplies and equipment throughout the region. The South Dakota units already completed 1,100 missions totaling 5.4 million miles.

The 740th alone, has completed nearly 300 missions, accumulating over 2,087,600 miles. The 740th was mobilized on Feb. 11, 2003, trained at Fort Carson, CO and and deployed to the Middle East on April 19, 2003.

The 842nd Engineer Company has been stationed at Baghdad International Airport and tasked with construction missions. The 842nd was mobilized on March 15, 2003, trained at Fort Carson, CO and deployed to the Middle East on June 3, 2003.

The South Dakota National Guard has six units and 1,200 soldiers in Iraq/Kuwait including the 740th; 1742nd Transportation Company; 842nd Engineer Company of; 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery; 153rd Engineer Battalion, and the 216th Engineer Detachment (Firefighting Team).

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