The Excellence Of The South Dakota National Guard
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
As the commander-in-chief of the South Dakota National Guard, I know well the role the National Guard plays in defending our nation and responding to domestic emergencies here in our state. I’ve witnessed their service firsthand while visiting members in Kuwait and Afghanistan, and I appreciated their service when they were called to respond to emergencies here at home.
Not long after I came into office, the Missouri River flooded. Though we received very little notice, the National Guard was ready to respond. In a matter of hours, soldiers arrived on the scene to help with sandbagging, traffic management, levee construction and patrols. Nearly 2,000 Guardsmen came to affected communities to help with the response, and they worked for 96 continuous days in 12- to 15-hour shifts.
For this and all other major weather disasters we’ve faced over the past five years – the 2012 drought, Winter Storm Atlas, flooding along the Missouri and Big Sioux, and the Wessington Springs tornado – the National Guard has been there to lend a hand to South Dakotans.
Beyond responding to disasters here at home, many of our National Guard soldiers have served abroad. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the National Guard has deployed more than 7,200 soldiers and airmen overseas and at home in support of the Global War on Terror. Right now, for the first time in a decade, none of our National Guard soldiers or airmen are currently deployed overseas.
That will change in May, when the 114 Fighter Wing will deploy to the Pacific Theater. South Dakotans stand in support of the 250 airmen of that unit and we are grateful for their commitment to answer the call of duty abroad. It is because of their sacrifice and the sacrifices made by others who have served that we are free. Thanks to them, we live in a place where we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and more.
The soldiers and airmen of the South Dakota National Guard are some of the most dedicated, capable, and reliable men and women I’ve ever known. For over 153 years, this leading force has been dedicated to serving the citizens of South Dakota and the nation. Now more than ever, the National Guard is seeking quality men and women to be part of this professional, respected, dependable and highly-skilled force.
I encourage those looking to be a part of a winning team to join this elite organization. Be a part of the history, tradition and legacy that is our South Dakota National Guard. Visit sdguard.com for more information.