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Return from deployment in Middle East celebrated by SDANG, family, friends

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The South Dakota Army National Guard’s 109th Regional Support Group (RSG) was celebrated at a welcome home ceremony on Saturday, September 16, at 1:30 p.m. in the Monument Fine Arts Theater in Rapid City. 84 Soldiers were welcomed home by family, friends, and fellow service members during the event. Governor Kristi Noem, Representative Dusty Johnson, Rapid City Mayor Jason Salamun, and SDNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. (SD) Mark Morrell all spoke at the ceremony and praised the outstanding efforts of the 109th RSG.

Governor Kristi Noem stated, “It’s so humbling for me to be your commander-in-chief. It’s probably the one part of this job that keeps me up at night. You are incredible. I thank God you came home safe. I thank God we still have men and women who step up and serve.”

The unit recently returned from a nearly year-long federal deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The 109th RSG operated in four different locations in two countries to provide base support operations in support of Central Command (CENTCOM). This has been the first deployment as the 109th Regional Support Group (RSG), which was reorganized in 2008 from the 109th Engineer Battalion. The 109th RSG’s lineage traces back to the 109th Engineer Group which was ordered into active federal service on November 21, 1990 and April 28, 2004.

“We are grateful for you and the work you have done these past nine plus months,” stated Maj. Gen. (SD) Mark Morrell, South Dakota National Guard Adjutant General. “And not just this deployment, but also for the years of work and dedication beforehand that led to your professionalism and mission success on this most recent deployment to Kuwait and Iraq.”

109th RSG Soldiers supported over 8,000 U.S. and Coalition military forces during the deployment to include the Italians, Norwegians, and Germans. The 109th RSG played a strategic role in nation building, process improvement, and preventing the resurgence of Da’esh (ISIS) forces through supporting the Iraqi government.

“South Dakota values, hard work, commitment, get the mission done,” said Col. Wyatt Hansen, 109th RSG Commander. “These were key factors in this unit’s ability to provide excellent support; their mantra of how can we get to yes was immediately apparent, and noticed by the tenants and the senior leaders as soon as we got there. And it continued all the way to the end.”

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