This Week In S.D. National Guard History

In recognition of the South Dakota National Guard's 150 years of service to the state and nation from 1862-2012, the SDNG will be publishing significant dates in the history of the organization all year long for the media's use in your publications or broadcasts.

For more information on these events, please contact the SDNG Historian, CW5 Duke Doering at (605) 737-6581, or e-mail

March 6, 1945

On this date in South Dakota National Guard history, Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Scurr, of Pierre, commander of the 147th Field Artillery left the South Pacific and returned home after four years of war in World War II. Scurr had joined the 147th Field Artillery at the time of its organization in 1921, when he was a first lieutenant.

When he left the battalion on March 5, 1945, the last original officer of the 147th Field Artillery was gone. Scurr recalled of his departure, "It was with a mingled feeling of pride, anticipation of getting home after an absence of more than four years at war, and regret to be leaving the outfit with which I have served continuously for over 24 years."

While in the South Pacific he served in Australia, New Guinea, Dutch East Indies, Bismarck Archipelago and the Philippine Islands. He turned the command over to Maj. Clifford D. Nelson from Sioux Falls.

March 7, 1991

On this date in South Dakota National Guard history, the740th Transportation Company, of Aberdeen and Milbank, during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, prepared for the next day's task of transporting 40 truckloads of MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) and water into Kuwait.

On Feb. 26, Kuwait City had been liberated. The convoy went through Kuwait City and over the "Highway of Death," where coalition forces caught Iraqi forces leaving Kuwait City. North of the city, they encountered the oil field fires as shown by U.S. news media. During the day, the sky was black with smoke from the fires, and at night the horizon came ablaze like candles on a birthday cake.

March 8, 1943

On this date in South Dakota National Guard history during World War II, from the moment the 109th Combat Engineer Battalion arrived in Tunisia, North Africa, early in 1943, the checking, laying and lifting of mine fields had been the most important element of their mission.

On March 8, Cpl. Donald R. Muth, of Lead, was wounded when he tripped a "Bouncing Baby" mine. Muth fortunately escaped the full blast and survived. A few days later, near Rohia, eight South Dakota guardsmen were injured when a mine field exploded. They included Byrin Kruse, John Graf, and Forest M. Hale, all of old Company D, Hot Springs. They all survived.

March 10, 1953

On this date in South Dakota National Guard history, the birth of the 100th Ordnance Company took place in Mitchell, and Capt. James Zard, Warrant Officer Charles Summers, 1st Sgt. Ellis Egan, Sgt. 1st Class Arnold Bullis, Sgt. 1st Class Clarence Kapsch, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Rew, and Privates Warren Crowley, Ronald Nicholson, Lloyd Puepke, Faye Stumm and Richard Tracy were sworn in at their first drill.

Federal recognition of the 100th Ordnance Company was obtained when 10 percent of the authorized strength of the unit was met. This provided a cadre for the unit.

Later in the year, several military technicians that had been working at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop (CSMS) in Rapid City transferred to Mitchell as soon as the new shop was completed. They included 1st Lt. Howard Nelson, Master Sgt. Robert Rothlisberger, Master Sgt. Clair Oleson, Master Sgt. George Drew, Staff Sgt. Francis Schaefer, and Staff Sgt. William Mahrt.

These soldiers had all just recently returned from Alaska, where they had recently completed their federal activation tour with the 196th Regimental Combat Team. The unit was reorganized on Nov. 1, 1956, and became the 665th Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company.

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