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SD National Guard 109th Engineer Battalion reactivated

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The 109th Engineer Battalion returns to the South Dakota Army National Guard following an uncasing ceremony. De-activated from service in August 2007 due to an organizational transformation, the 109th returns as part of the SDARNG’s force structure changes announced last year. 

The uncasing of the unit’s colors (flag) is a military custom and tradition that signals the re-activation of a unit and continuation of its history and lineage. 

With about 160 Soldiers in the unit, the mission of the 109th is to coordinate and execute tactical operations involving mobility, counter mobility and survivability tasks on the battlefield. The 109th also provides command and control for about 400 Soldiers in five assigned units throughout the state to support training, administrative and logistical requirements to maintain readiness in support of state and federal missions. 

“It’s an incredible honor to be the incoming commander for the 109th Engineer Battalion,” Lt. Col. Dennis Bickett said during the ceremony. “The 109th has a rich history. We need to train so if called upon the 109th will live up to the awesome legacy established by the warriors who have come before us.” 

The 109th traces its history and lineage back to 1884 as part of the Dakota Territory Militia. Its history includes federal service during the Philippine Insurrection, World Wars I and II and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 109th also activated for federal service in Germany during the Korean War. 

“The 109th Engineer Battalion has answered the call time and again over the last 135 years,” Bickett said. “Now we need to rapidly build that readiness so the 109th will be ready to meet the needs of our state and nation again.” 

Over the next year, Bickett said the unit would be working on filling its ranks, focusing on individual and occupational training and professional development schools for its Soldiers, and planning hard, realistic training as part of the Golden Coyote training exercise in June 2020. 

Units assigned to the 109th include the 109th Forward Support Company (Rapid City), 842nd Engineer Company (Spearfish, Sturgis and Belle Fourche), 155th Engineer Company (Wagner and Parkston), and the 216th and 451st Engineer Detachments (Rapid City). 

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