Yankton’s National Guard unit alerted for Operation Iraqi Freedom

Yankton's National Guard unit alerted for Operation Iraqi Freedom Gov. Mike Rounds announced April 18 that South Dakota National Guard soldiers from Yankton's C "Charlie" Battery and other soldiers from throughout the 147th Field Artillery's 1st Battalion areas were alerted for possible mobilization.

"Time and time again, the men and women of the South Dakota National Guard have answered the call to fight the on-going war on global terrorism," said the governor on the notification. "They are well trained, well led, and ready to complete the mission in a safe and professional manner. I am asking the citizens of South Dakota to lend your support to these soldiers and their families. Please thank them for their commitment and their sacrifices. Our prayers go with them as we look forward to celebrating with them upon their safe return."

The mission for the 152 National Guard soldiers includes conducting security operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

Charlie Battery will provide about half of the needed strength for the mission and will be joined with others from 1st Battalion units in Salem, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls.

This is the second call-up for the unit since hostilities erupted in Iraq. The entire 1st Battalion mobilized in March of 2003 and deployed to Fort Sill, OK. The unit trained with the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) battalion but returned home in May of 2003 when military officials decided there was not a need for more artillery in Iraq.

Since 9-11, the South Dakota Army National Guard has mobilized 2,178 soldiers from 26 different units for Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the peak of deployments, South Dakota had more than 1,500 soldiers in Iraq at one time. Currently only 22 solders remain on duty in Iraq and 75 in Afghanistan.

Currently in IRAQ � 22 soldiers

Detachment 3, Company F, 238th Aviation (10 soldiers � aircraft mechanics).

Detachment 3, Company A, 249th Aviation (8 soldiers � C-23 pilots and crew).

147th FA Brigade (3 soldiers ��intelligence analysts).

Joint Force Headquarters (1 soldier � doctor).

Currently in Afghanistan � 76 soldiers

109th Engineer Group (76 soldiers � engineers).

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