South Dakota Army National Guard Unit in Rapid City set to be deployed to Kuwait this summer

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RAPID CITY, South Dakota — The first South Dakota Army National Guard unit deployed after the Sept. 11 attacks is scheduled to be sent out again in August, ending a brief period that marked the first time in 12 years that no National Guard soldiers or airmen based in the state were deployed.

The 162 members of the Guard's 155th Engineer Company were notified recently about the scheduled deployment to Kuwait, the National Guard announced Tuesday.

In September, 160 members of the Flandreau- and Sioux Falls-based 1,742nd Transportation Company returned after a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. Their return marked the first time since June 17, 2002, that no members of the state's national guard were deployed.

"We've had soldiers or airmen deployed continuously since 9/11," said First Lt. Chad Carlson, the deputy public affairs officer for the Guard in South Dakota.

Members of the 155th provide engineering support in building base camps and internment facilities overseas.

"We offer a skill set that the army needs and so they called upon us to come and build the infrastructure that they need maintained and built, so we're going to go and do the mission that we're trained to do," said Captain David Dodson, the company commander of the 155th unit.

Dodson, who was deployed in 2004 with a different unit, said many of his soldiers have experience working with or owning construction companies. Now that they're being deployed, Dodson said they'll receive more tactical training to prepare for any scenario.

"Whether it is a garrison-type environment or it does become a tactical, hostile environment, we're going to adjust our training so that we're prepared to function in all of it," he said.

About 70 members of the unit are based in Rapid City, where the 155th is headquartered, while about 90 report to a base in Wagner. The unit is scheduled to report to Fort Bliss in Texas to complete several weeks of training before they deploy.

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