March 31 2004

[b]200th Engineers return home[/b]

Posted by Kim
by Lucy Halverson

The South Dakota National Guard 200th Engineer Company arrived safely at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois Tuesday, March 23, 2000 and traveled on to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where they spent the several days out-processing after serving a year in Iraq. The Unit traveled by bus early Monday morning to their headquarters in Pierre for deactivation ceremonies.
The convoy of five buses, law enforcement vehicles, and other vehicles carrying family and friends were greeted by large crowd of well-wishers at Kennebec. Banners, flags, and signs were held up and horns honked as the convoy passed the Kennebec exit. Children waved to the soldiers from the top of fire trucks.

The reception in Vivian was much the same as a large crowd greeted the unit there also.

Sheriff Don Manger, who escorted the convoy through Lyman County, reports that as the group neared the Stanley Co line north of Vivian along Hwy 83, they came over a hill and were greeted by a sparkling clean JD loader tractor, bucket high in the air, decorated in yellow ribbons and balloons and an American flag flying from the highest point of the bucket. According to Manger it was a real sign of support for the returning soldiers.

Following the ceremony the members from Chamberlain returned to Chamberlain where they were featured in a parade in their honor.

The 200th, of which Tim Long of Kennebec is a member, from Pierre, Chamberlain, Mobridge and Lemmon, was mobilized into federal service back on January 24, 2003 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The unit trained at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., before deploying to the Middle East on April 5, 2003.

After arriving in Kuwait, the 200th moved to a location north of Baghdad known as Camp Warhorse. Equipped with the Armys assault float ribbon bridge, the soldiers of the 200th built a bridge across the Tigris River near BaQuba. The bridge served as a major crossing point for U.S. and Coalition forces as well as local traffic.

During its 10-month duty in Iraq, 170-member unit maintained security at the bridge site and at the camp as well. The unit was also tasked with patrolling the local area and guarded prisoners of war and detainees.

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