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

On this date in SDNG history:

May 8, 2010

The activation ceremony for the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade took place at the Elmen Center on the Augustana College campus in Sioux Falls on this date.

Several hundred friends and family members attended the event to say goodbye in a ceremony that featured speakers Sen. John Thune and Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson, Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Steven Doohen and State Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Zimmerman.

Two days later, the unit departed for their mobilization station at Fort Hood, TX.

At Fort Hood, the soldiers received their personal equipment issue, trained on individual and crew served automatic weapons and conducted specific mission training they would require in Afghanistan. Forty members underwent the Contracting Officer's Representative course.

On June 13, 2010, the 196th main body arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, and started to move to their 11 base locations throughout the capital city. The responsibility of security and force protection, plans, training and mobilization, human resources, public works, information management and logistics sustainment of nearly 9,000 U.S. and coalition forces fell to the 196th when they assumed control on June 26, 2010.

May 9, 1944

Tech. Sgt. 5 Richard Keifer, of Rapid City, was a prisoner of war in Germany. There, he remained for 18 months until liberated by the Russians in 1945. After the war, Keifer returned to Rapid City and became the well-respected fire chief for the city. His capture had taken place in Italy in 1944.

It began when a detail from Headquarters Company, 109th Engineer Battalion, led by Sgt. Raymond T. Martin, of Rapid City, Kenneth Kalberg, of Seneca and Keifer were on a reconnaissance to search for a likely spot for a crossing of the Rapido River. The crossing was needed for the 34th Infantry Division to advance to Cassino, Italy.

It was foggy and the detail made its way to the east river bank. The fog lifted and only a short distance away and well emplaced was a German detail with a machine gun. The only concealment was a small, inadequate ravine leading off from the Rapido and giving a little cover.

The detail hit the ravine in a bunch. By lying in the water, all were in defilade from the Germans except Kalberg, whose back was exposed. The gunners raked him with fire and had the detail at their mercy. Martin could talk some German and tried to do a little bargaining, but to no avail.

The Germans started tossing over grenades and it was a question of but moments until one would wipe them all out. Kalberg was badly wounded so Martin surrendered his detail. They were taken to an old theater near Cassino and separated.

Kalberg later recovered from his wounds and escaped. Martin and Keifer, however, went to Germany and remained prisoners until the end of the war.

(South Dakota in WW II, page 185) SOUTH DAKOTA IN WORLD WAR II, page 185, The World War II History Commission

May 10, 1863

Fort Thompson, Dakota Territory, Capt. Nelson Miner: In the spring of 1863, Company A, Dakota Cavalry was ordered to pursue and find eight Indian prisoners who escaped from a guardhouse. But the eight prisoners vanished as if the earth had swallowed them.

A short time later, word came that the War Department was transporting by steamboat via St. Louis, some of the men and all the women and children who had not already fled from Minnesota, to a point on the Missouri River near Crow Creek.

Capt. Nelson Miner was ordered to march his company to that point and be on hand when the steamboats, with the Indians, arrived near the beginning of June and into July. The Indians in the first contingent, all of who were Santees, numbered 1,489 persons and had with them 147 horses, 147 oxen, 123 wagons and all their possessions that could be brought on the steamboats.

Clark W. Thompson, for whom Fort Thompson was named, had high praise for Capt. Miner and said, "I am much indebted to Capt. Miner of Co. A., Dakota Cavalry, who is in command of the soldiers here, for the prompt and efficient manner he had discharged his duty and the vigilance in scouting the country and in faithfully guarding the government's property."

Pages 298-299, DAKOTA PANORMA, Dakota Territory Centennial Commission, Dakota's Own Civil War by Will G. Robinson

May 11, 1936

Building Camp Rapid: The Adjutant General's Biennial report of 1934-1936, to Gov. Tom Berry, reported the progress made at the "Permanent Camp."

The land for Camp Rapid had been purchased in 1932. The Adjutant General, Edwin C. Coffey, detailed the construction of the camp site at Rapid City. Funds had been provided by the Public Works Administration and disbursed by the U.S. Property & Disbursing Officer of South Dakota. Construction has been completed on one warehouse, 200×50 feet, four kitchens 64×21 feet, 57 wooden tent floors 16×16 feet, and a complete water, sewer and disposal system.

Work on the construction of a boxing bowl seating approximately 2,800 people and warehouse and office building are being rapidly completed at this time. Further requests for additional construction on the camp site through submission of a six-year plan includes 21 kitchens, 34 bathhouses, one incinerator, three warehouses, 190 tent floors, two standard post powder magazines, two quarters for caretakers, three miles hard surface roads and extension of gas mains, water, sewer and light lines.

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