Sixty-eight soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion were honored during a deployment ceremony Saturday, July 6 in Pierre. Hundreds of family members, friends and community supporters gathered at the T.F. Riggs High School auditorium to see the soldiers off as they depart for about a six-month tour to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Among those in the battalion is Eric Price, Miller. His wife, Ann, said they left for Texas as their first stop on the way to Afghanistan.
Speakers for the Saturday ceremony included Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the adjutant general of the SDNG.
“This is a great day, because this (ceremony) brings us together because of our love for the soldiers that are being deployed today,” said Daugaard. “Our admiration for their great competence, skill, courage, dedication and loyalty to our state and our nation inspires us to come together and show them how much we appreciate them.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of this unit,” said Reisch. “This unit has executed a rigorous training plan to prepare this unit for deployment, and there is no doubt in my mind that your performance during this deployment will add to the impressive legacy of the South Dakota National Guard.”
The mission of the 152nd’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company will be to provide multi-functional combat support and combat service support to forces throughout an assigned area of operation. Multi-functional areas include supply, transportation, maintenance and ordnance support.
“We will do everything possible to go over there and do great things and come home safe. That’s our number one goal,” said Lt. Col. Michael Oster, commander of the 152nd. “Our second goal is to live in a place where excellence is not only our expectation but also that it becomes our average. So on a bad day we’re great and on a good day we are spectacular. That’s what we’re going to do in the 152nd.”
The soldiers that comprise the Pierre-based Guard unit come from 28 different South Dakota communities. While many of the soldiers will be deploying for the first time, more than half of the unit are deploying for the second or third time.
Ann Price said Eric is the only soldier from Miller deployed; however, Dave McGruder from Highmore, Jeremy Schaefer from Wolsey, and a couple of soldiers from the Redfield area were among those deployed.