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The South Dakota National Guard announced that the unit currently stationed in De Smet will be pulling out by September 2020. De Smet has had a National Guard unit here since 1887.
The SDNG stated Monday that they will undergo a force structure and stationing change. These changes will involve deactivating three units, activating three new units, relocating six units and closing the armory in De Smet.
“The reorganization and relocation of units will maximize resources, training and facilities, ensure efficient mission command for operational readiness, develop more cohesive units, match units in communities that optimize recruiting demographics for future projected growth, and ensure coverage of state mission requirements,” said Major Anthony Deiss.
“The De Smet-based Detachment 1, 211th Engineer Company, will relocate and consolidate with its company headquarters in Madison. The unit armory is currently co-located with the high school and their lease with the SDNG will be terminated. Exclusive use of the armory space will be turned over to the school district and is expected to be completed by December 2019,” Deiss said.
"It is with genuine sadness that we will be relocating from De Smet - a community that has supported the National Guard in a truly outstanding manner for decades," said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch. "We will continue to maintain our ties to De Smet through recruiting and support of community events, and there will be no change in our ability to respond to their needs should an emergency occur.
It is reported that currently there are no NG members stationed in De Smet attached to the 211th unit. All NG members are stationed with other units throughout the state.
The SDNG held a meeting with city and school officials last week and advised them of the upcoming announcement. According to finance officer, Tracey Larson, the relocation will have a negligible impact on their finances. The SDNG utilizes an area to store equipment and vehicles west of the 4-H area. They do not lease the land. Currently there are no vehicles stored there.
De Smet school superintendent Abi Van Regenmorter reported the SDNG pays a yearly lease of $5,700 for use of the armory. The lease will continue until December 2019.
The SDNG move should have a minimal impact on finances for the school.
“It's unfortunate to have the National Guard pull out of our community as there has been many years of productive collaboration. However, we know this decision was not made easily. We understand that the National Guard must make improvements to best support their mission and purpose,” Van Regenmorter said.
Before the National Guard was formed in De Smet, it was known as the South Dakota Militia. The SDNG has had a presence in De Smet for the past 131 years.
In 1887, the first SD National Guard unit in De Smet was Company E, First South Dakota Infantry.
In 1899, the Company E, 2nd Battalion, First South Dakota Infantry was stationed here.
In 1947, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 196th Infantry was located here.
In 1956, 727th Transportation Company was stationed here.
In 1963, 741st Transportation Company was stationed here.
In 1972, Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 153rd Engineer Battalion was located here.
In 1994 Detachment 1, Company B, 153rd Engineer Battalion was stationed here and the new armory was built.
And finally, in 2008, Detachment 1, 211th Engineer Company was our last NG unit to be stationed here.
Posted on 12-07-2018
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