The South Dakota National Guard is currently hosting its 29th annual Golden Coyote training exercise in the Black Hills. The training began June 8 and will wrap up on June 22. The exercise is designed to provide military units with relevant training opportunities in support of overseas contingency operations and homeland defense.
Created in the mid 1980s by the South Dakota National Guard, with the cooperation of the National Forest Service and Custer State Park, this year’s Golden Coyote training exercise will allow more than 3,500 service members to conduct combat support and combat service support missions in a realistic training environment and provide valuable services to the public.
There will be 55 military units representing 11 states and four foreign nations participating in the exercise and from multiple branches of military service – Army, Navy and Air Force – working together to create an invaluable training experience. Participating units train on their equipment and employ tactics, as well as complete various engineer projects that help improve the forest and infrastructure of many local communities.
Local residents receive numerous benefits of the many engineering projects being conducted during the training exercise. Units transport timber cut in remote areas to those who can use it as firewood, identify hazardous wilderness areas and make them safe for public use, and re-surface local roadways that have fallen into disrepair.
In addition, individual units are able to participate in numerous warrior training tasks and battle drills, such as urban combat operations, land navigation, first aid, casualty evacuation, and day and night convoy operations. This provides a valuable opportunity for units to train on skills needed for any future overseas deployment.
Missions for the 2013 Golden Coyote training exercise are conducted throughout the Black Hills and the surrounding area, both in local urban areas and remote wilderness sites.