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South Dakota National Guard


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Help us in celebrating 100 years of the Warrant Officer Cohort and the involvement the South Dakota National Guard has had since it gained its first Warrant Officer in 1924!

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The SD National Guard's 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion conducts training on rail loading operations in preparation for their annual training at Camp Grayling, Michigan. The realistic training improves the readiness of the National Guard and gives Soldiers hands-on experience to plan, mobilize and deploy equipment quickly in support of state and federal missions.

The SD National Guard's 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion conducts training on rail loading operations in preparation for their annual training at Camp Grayling, Michigan. The realistic training improves the readiness of the National Guard and gives Soldiers hands-on experience to plan, mobilize and deploy equipment quickly in support of state and federal missions.

Jacobson promoted to colonel in SD National Guard

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The South Dakota Army National Guard promoted Joe Jacobson, of Rapid City, to the rank of colonel during a ceremony at Camp Rapid, July 6.

Jacobson, a native of Watertown, serves fulltime as the G1 deputy chief of staff for personnel for Joint Force Headquarters at Camp Rapid. Jacobson was recently selected to attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and will leave for the course later this month.

“I am thankful for the opportunities that the South Dakota Army National Guard has offered me over the past 30 years and I look forward to the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson began his military service in 1988 enlisting as a heavy equipment operator with the 1742nd Transportation Company in Watertown. In November 1990, he was activated with the 1742nd in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm serving in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.

Upon returning from deployment, Jacobson enrolled into the South Dakota Military Academy’s Officer Candidate School. In 1992, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Transportation Corps and assigned to the 139th Transportation Battalion in Brookings.

Over the course of his career, Jacobson has served in a variety of command and staff positions to include platoon leader in the 740th Transportation and 665th Maintenance Companies; assistant operations officer and logistics officer in the 88th Troop Command; operations officer/executive officer for the 109th Regional Support Group; and since 2016, he has served as the deputy G1 for the SDARNG.

Jacobson has commanded the 1742nd Transportation Company, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, and the South Dakota Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

Jacobson holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree from Mankato State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Touro University.

He resides in Rapid City with his wife Jennifer (Sutton) Jacobson and their children Strider, Cade and Makenna.

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The Army has approved a new physical fitness test - the Army Combat Fitness test (ACFT) - to directly connect fitness with combat readiness for all Soldiers. The test will improve Soldier physical readiness, change the Army fitness culture, reduce preventable injuries and unplanned attrition, better inform Commanders of unit readiness, and enhance mental toughness and stamina. The test is designed to replace the current test of record with a gender- and age-neutral assessment based on the physical demands of combat.

Field Tests begin in October 2018 with 60 designated battalions of different types in all three Army components - Regular Army, Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Reserve. The ACFT will be implemented across the Army in October 2019 and will become the Army's fitness test of record no later than October 2020. The Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) will remain in effect during the transition period.

SD National Guard Leading The Nation

A column by Lt. Gov. Matt Michels

One of the greatest honors of serving as lieutenant governor is getting to work with the South Dakota National Guard. Our Guard members are some of the most dedicated, capable and reliable men and women I know. Under Adjutant General Tim Reisch's leadership, we have an exceptional group of soldiers and airmen serving our nation and state.

The latest example of the SDNG's reputation of excellence came last month, when we heard that South Dakota continues to lead the nation in unit readiness. The SD Army National Guard received 30 of the 31 Superior Unit Awards from the National Guard Bureau. Though we make up only 9/10 of a percent of the nation's National Guard, we earned almost all of the awards for 2017. That's pretty impressive!

The Superior Unit Award is presented to units who meet highly-enforced military standards in the areas of personnel, training and readiness. Units must achieve 95 percent in unit strength, monthly drill attendance, annual training attendance and weapons qualification, as well as 90 percent in physical fitness tests and duty-qualified soldiers. Unit administration and maintenance inspections are also a factor. We can be proud that so many of South Dakota's units met this rigorous set of standards.

A number of units have received this distinction in previous years. Six units received the award for the second time in a row, four units for a third straight year, four units for four consecutive years, four more for five consecutive years, and the 211th Engineer Company of Madison and De Smet has earned the designation six years in a row now. Additionally, the 114th Fighter Wing has been one of the top five flying units in the nation for the past four years in a row.

This past week we celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Our forefathers declared that every individual is born free with inalienable rights, and that government must respect those God-given rights and allow people to live freely. But ideas do not deserve the sole credit for our way of life here in America. Rather, it is those ideas coupled with the sacrifices made by Americans who wear the uniform. We can be grateful the SD National Guard is so well prepared to answer the call to defend our freedoms.

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152nd CSSB prepares for large-scale training exercise

PIERRE, S.D. – Soldiers from the Pierre-based 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are preparing for a month-long training exercise at the National Training Center, or NTC, at Fort Irwin, California, in August.

NTC will allow the 152nd to train on their logistics mission of moving supplies in a tough, realistic joint and combined-arms training environment in preparation for deployment overseas.

“Our Soldiers have invested an extensive amount of planning, coordination and training over the past year, and I am excited to see their hard work and dedication culminate into a successful rotation,” said Lt. Col. Tim Schlotterback, 152nd CSSB commander. “NTC will provide the Soldiers of the 152nd the tough, realistic training that is necessary to prepare them to meet future requirements.”

NTC serves as one of the U.S. Army’s premier training centers. Units training at the NTC will participate in an exercise where they will be faced with different real-life scenarios to prepare for an ever-changing tactical environment. The training uses simulated systems and mock villages filled with foreign language speaking actors.

“The National Training Center will be a great opportunity with some high-intensity training, a very austere environment, maybe even more so than any deployment many of us have been on,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Jennings, senior non-commissioned officer of the 152nd.

“Our mission as the 152nd is pushing classes of supplies to the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania National Guard,” said Jennings. “There are approximately 6,000 Soldiers that we'll be pushing supplies to that will be living in a very remote part of the desert.”

The Soldiers and vehicles of the 152nd will be outfitted with MILES (multiple integrated laser engagement system) gear, which uses lasers and blank cartridges to simulate actual battle.

“The opposing force (OPFOR) is a full-time, active-duty force stationed there,” said Jennings. “The Soldiers will be engaged by the OPFOR and we have to maintain a base defense and convoy securities, the same elements as if we were in a theater operation.”

“One of our main focuses is survivability training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Randy Tollefson. “That’s something we don’t normally do as a CSSB, and it’s going to be very important at NTC, because if we don’t survive, we won’t be able to do our mission.”

The 152nd conducted field training exercises (FTXs) the last three months to focus on the Soldiers’ tactical proficiency and to conduct command post operations.

“Mother Nature wasn’t very nice to us,” said Tollefson.

The 152nd’s FTX in April was modified due to a blizzard; the June FTX was cut short due to lightning. Despite the setbacks, they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We will need to forecast out to make sure the 56th SBCT has enough food, water and fuel to sustain themselves and set up a shipment process to make sure that we get their supplies to them,” said Tollefson. “That’s our main mission, and then to stay alive, of course.”

“Once we get there, its execution time,” said Jennings. “It’s a mission we have to accomplish. If the 56th SBCT doesn’t get their fuel, they will stop fighting. They need us to keep fighting the war game against the OPFOR at NTC.”

By Sgt. 1st Class Barb Jensen –109th Regional Support Group

#SDNationalGuard #SDNG #CSSB #NTC

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Flying Old Glory this Independence Day? Here are a few friendly reminders. The South Dakota National Guard salutes you! #OldGlory #HBDAmerica #SDNationalGuard

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SD Guard’s 1st Battalion, 196th Regiment changes command

FORT MEADE, S.D. – Lt. Col. Troy Ness, of Brookings, took command of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion (Officer Candidate School), 196th Regiment from Lt. Col. Wyatt Hansen, of Spearfish, during a change of command ceremony at the Fort Meade parade field, June 23.

Ness, who has been a member of the National Guard for over 30 years, will now oversee the Fort Meade unit that Hansen has commanded since Sept. 2016.

“I am excited for this opportunity,” said Ness. “It’s a privilege to be involved in the leader development of future officers. My goal is to uphold the outstanding legacy of the OCS program and continue to raise the bar where we can.”

As the commander of the 1/196th, Ness is now responsible for the planning, training and support of the battalion’s accelerated officer candidate school program, the conduct of OCS at its eight subordinate companies, as well as the warrant officer candidate school.

Ness is employed at South Dakota State University as the Recruiting Operations Officer for the school’s Army ROTC program. Hansen will attend the resident Army War College at Carlisle, Penn. starting in July.

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Society of American Indian Government Employees recognize SD National Guardsman

GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) presented their Military Meritorious Service Award to a South Dakota Army National Guard Soldier during the 15th Annual SAIGE National Training Program in Green Bay, June 14.

Retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 William White, of Rockyford, S.D., received the award honoring military members and Department of Defense civilian employees who have supported the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective military service or other DoD component.

White, who retired from the SDARNG in October 2017, received the award for exceptional meritorious service to the United States, the South Dakota National Guard and the Native American veterans and their families representative of the Great Native American Tribes of Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Oglala, Standing Rock, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Rosebud and Yankton.

“Being recognized from an indigenous group was rewarding,” White said. “My hope is other people were able to see what we are doing in South Dakota and it gives them ideas on directions to go.”

White was involved with various projects that assist in relationships with the SDNG and Native American communities in South Dakota during his more than 38 years with the SDARNG, 31 of which he spent full time as a technician.

His most recent project, and one he took the lead on, was a Native American Cultural Day held at Camp Rapid, Rapid City, S.D., during the Golden Coyote training exercise in June 2017.

The event included dancer and drum groups, dream catcher and bow maker hands-on activities, a buffalo historian, and food samplings showcasing Native American culture.

“The event was a good opportunity for people to actually learn about their neighbors,” White said. “The better you understand a group, the more you’re going to accept them.”

Another event White was involved with was the Oceti Sakowin Code Talker Congressional Medallion Exhibit, which toured several South Dakota cities in 2015 in observance of Native American Heritage Month.

The traveling exhibit honored code talker veterans, their families and all veterans who served or are currently serving in the military. The medals, which were showcased for the public to view, are Congress’ highest recognition and appreciation of people, institutions or events.

“Both those projects were highlights of my career,” White said. “I really enjoyed it. I’m glad they both came together the way they did.”

White’s Military Meritorious Service Award citation mention the success of the event’s due to his involvement and concludes with, “His dedication to his country and his heritage reflect great credit upon him, his family, his tribe the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the South Dakota Army National Guard and the United States of America.”

SAIGE is a national non-profit organization advocating for American Indian and Alaska Native people in the government workforce by providing them the necessary tools in their efforts to reach their full potential.

PHOTO: Retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 William White (center left), South Dakota Army National Guard, receives the 2018 Society of American Indian Government Employees Military Meritorious Service Award in Green Bay, Wisc., June 14, 2018. The award honors military members and DoD civilian employees who have supported the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective military service or other DoD component. On hand to present the award are U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Croymans (center right), SDARNG assistant adjutant general, SAIGE Chair Fredericka Joseph, and F. Michael Sena, deputy director, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Office of Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), Department of Defense. (Photo by Danny Garcia/SAIGE)

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SD Guard battalion concludes Motor Transport Operators Course instruction

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The South Dakota Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 196th Regiment (Regional Training Institute) conducted its final Motor Transport Operators Course in Sioux Falls, April 14 - May 11.

The four-week performance-oriented course that trains and qualifies Soldiers on various wheeled vehicles for the 88M military occupational specialty will be taught elsewhere due to course reorganization throughout the National Guard.

“The changes that took place reorganizing the course were out of our hands and it’s unfortunate that the South Dakota RTI is losing this mission, however, as we look forward, we will gain students in other areas and this battalion will continue to lead the way, developing and training Soldiers to increase the readiness of the Army,” said Lt. Col. LeeJay Templeton, 2/196th RTI commander.

The RTI has conducted nearly 20 motor transport operator courses since 2008.

The final class taught in South Dakota, Class 001-18, consisted of 11 Soldiers, from six states throughout the nation, who gained experience during phase I operating medium tactical wheeled vehicles.

Students traveled 600 Medium Tactical Vehicle driving miles and 2,870 driving miles with the M915/M872 tractor-semitrailer combination.

During phase II, students became proficient in operating the Load Handling System M1120A4, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.

A graduation ceremony was held for the Soldiers who successfully completed the course and were awarded the motor transport operator military occupational specialty qualification, May 11.

“I have been instructing the Motor Transport Operators Courses since 2014 and it has been a pleasure to be part of the mission to train Soldiers on the vehicles and convoy operations to take the knowledge and experience back to their units,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Zuraff, course manager/primary instructor for the final course. “It is unfortunate that we are losing this mission, but we look forward to continuing to train Soldiers in other courses here at the RTI.”

The 196th Regiment (RTI) provides a model environment for training future leaders for the Army National Guard and provides general instruction on a variety of military courses.

The RTI received 100% during the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command accreditation process and is considered an institute of excellence. This mission and operation in accordance with these standards increases readiness levels of units throughout the Department of Defense.

Story by Staff Sgt. Sarah Bierman – 2nd Battalion, 196th Regiment (RTI)

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SD Army Guard Recruiting and Retention changes command

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Lt. Col. Corey Norris, of Rapid City, took command of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Command during a change of command ceremony in Sioux Falls, May 10.

Norris assumes command from Lt. Col. Steven Siemonsma, of Piedmont, who served as the commander since October 2015.

As commander, Norris is responsible for the command and control of the R&R Command – and its two subordinate detachments – which provides recruitment and retention for the SDARNG. He will also oversee the Recruit Sustainment Program, which prepares recruits for initial entry training.

Norris comes to the R&R Command from his position of Professor of Military Science at South Dakota State University. He has 30 years of military service with 26 years in the Army National Guard and four years in the U.S. Air Force.

“This is a great opportunity to lead Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard,” Norris said, during the ceremony. “I very much look forward to working with you in this fight.”

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Tamra Sime - SDNG Recruiting and Retention Command

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The South Dakota Air National Guard was pleased to welcome The Honorable Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, to Joe Foss Field, June 26. Secretary Wilson made a brief stop at the 114th Fighter Wing during her travels to the state to address girls at the CybHER Security camp at Dakota State University in Madison. Wilson met with Airmen and held a town hall meeting answering questions and sharing insight. #SecAF #SDNG #SDNationalGuard

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New Federal Tuition Assistance Policy

The Secretary of the Army signed a new Federal Tuition Assistance Policy effective on Aug. 5, 2018, which will eliminate the 1-year wait after Advance Individual Training, and the 10-year wait between Bachelor's and Master's Degrees.

Soldiers who are considering using the benefit should apply for a "TA role" account on the GoArmyEd website database now, ahead of the effective date. Only Soldiers who have the "TA role" account will be eligible to use the FTA benefit.

For any questions or assistance with the new FTA policy, or GoArmyEd processes and procedures, please contact the SDARNG FTA Program Manager, Ms. Linda Abbott, at (605)-737-6675 or

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Challenge Coins: They’ve been an American military tradition for a century, meant to instill unit pride, improve esprit de corps and reward hard work and excellence.

The coins represent anything from a small unit to the offices of top leaders, such as the defense secretary. There are also coins made for special events, anniversaries and even nonmilitary leaders.

Many service members and veterans proudly display challenge coins at their desks or homes, showing off the many missions they’ve been on, the top leaders they’ve met and the units for which they’ve worked.

Golden Coyote 2018 has its own coin. Some of our 147th Army Band, South Dakota National Guard Soldiers were awarded a coin for their hard work that has gone above their regular duties.

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National Guard Soldiers improve community playhouse

CUSTER, S.D. – Soldiers from the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 155th Engineer Company worked on multiple engineer projects at the Black Hills Playhouse during the Golden Coyote training exercise in Custer State Park, June 11-19.

The projects benefit the Black Hills Playhouse, a nonprofit theatre, while providing Soldiers an opportunity to hone their skills while providing benefits to local communities.

“What the National Guard does for us is an incredible value, supplying the labor for these projects,” said Dan Workman, the artistic director for the Black Hills Playhouse. “We could not have completed the costume shop in 2014 without the National Guard’s help.”

This year, the Soldiers built a deck adjacent to the dining hall, and a new staircase and door for the seam shop. In the past 10 years, the National Guard has worked with Custer State Park and the Black Hills Playhouse on six different projects to benefit both the Soldier’s training and the local community.

“This is just an all-around great training environment for us to work in,” said Sgt. Jay Carroll, noncommissioned officer in charge of the project. “Not only as carpenters but as Soldiers as well.”

Projects like the Black Hills Playhouse allow Soldiers to train with their equipment and gain experience. The 155th (a vertical engineer unit) is comprised of electricians, plumbers and carpenters. The training helps the unit prepare in the event of a short-notice deployment.

“The intense training this year makes it seem more realistic,” said Carroll. “Although it’s challenging… we have to be ready at all times.”

The 155th built the deck at the Black Hills Playhouse to improve their dining facility, while also utilizing the opportunity to provide for and build relations with the community.

“It’s nice to work out here and form a camaraderie between the public and the unit as we improve the building,” said Carroll.

Employees of the Black Hills Playhouse stay on site for at least a month during the summer. They practice, perform, eat, and live in the area. These types of projects benefit the employees by giving them nicer buildings and a safer environment to stay in. It allows the National Guard to work with the employees and see firsthand how their mission can benefit everyone who works at the playhouse.

Story by Pfc. Alexis Stevens - 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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Camp Guernsey provides realistic training for combat engineers

GUERNSEY, Wyo. – Soldiers with South Dakota Army National Guard’s 211th Engineer Company trained at Camp Guernsey during the Golden Coyote training exercise, June 15-23.

The 211th recently had a change of mission from a Sapper Company to a Mobility Augmentation Company (MAC) and found the training at Camp Guernsey to be vital for ensuring Soldiers understand their new roles.

“We went from being a Sapper Company to being a MAC, which ultimately took our mission and put it on larger scale,” said Capt. Chris Olson, 211th commander. “We have a multitude of equipment that allows us to support a larger maneuver force. The mission set hasn’t changed, we just grew in scale.”

The 211th has many vehicles to help in their role of supporting troop movements. One vehicle, the assault vehicle launching bridge allows the unit to bridge across gaps, wire obstacles, water or other terrain obstacles troops may encounter.

“The value of this training is to come out to a different terrain we are not use to training on,” said Sgt. Richard Buechler, 211th combat engineer. “There are a lot of rolling hills and open valley so we can use these bridges to their full potential in crossing gaps which allows us to use all of our equipment to get where we need to go.”

Camp Guernsey’s training area was of great benefit to the engineers as they wanted the most realistic training possible. The camp includes live-fire ranges dedicated to small arms training, as well as crew serve, life-fire convoy routes, a counter improvised explosive device lane and rocket/missile firing points.

“The terrain on Guernsey is great for our mission. It allows us to train on the new systems we have gained since converting from a Sapper Company,” said Olson. “It gives us an opportunity to do our jobs in a realistic training environment.”

The main training mission of the 211th is to provide direct engineer support for an armored brigade combat team. The mission is to ensure mobility, counter mobility and survivability operations, said Olson.

“This training mission is exactly what our unit’s overall mission is,” said Olson. “A MAC is designed to provide direct engineer support to any maneuver asset. Ultimately, our job is to help a maneuver commander deal with any obstacle that he may encounter while advancing on the enemy.”

Story by Staff Sgt. Rachel Korzeniewski – 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, visits troops participating in the Golden Coyote training exercise in the Black Hills of South Dakota, June 17. The Golden Coyote exercise is a three-phase, scenario-driven exercise conducted in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming, which enables commanders to focus on mission essential task requirements, warrior tasks and battle drills. (U.S. Army photos by Pfc. Christopher Martin)

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Members of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 842nd Engineer Company built a road at Wind Cave National Park during the 2018 Golden Coyote exercise.

Members of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 211th Engineer Company conducted combat engineer training at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming, during the Golden Coyote exercise.

Army National Guard, Reserve, and Canadian Armed Forces came together to serve Native American reservations in South Dakota during the Golden Coyote exercise. Units are delivering timber to Native Americans communities from the Black Hills National Forest.

Soldiers with the 1077th Medical Company (Ground Ambulance) and 731st Transportation Company, both with the Kansas Army National Guard, conducted a mass casualty training event during the Golden Coyote exercise in Custer State Park, S.D., June 16, 2018. Golden Coyote is a three-phase, scenario-driven exercise conducted in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming, which enables commanders to focus on mission essential task requirements, warrior tasks and battle drills. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gary Silverman)

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