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SD Guard Members To Deploy To Kuwait

Sgt. Charlie Jacobson
US Army National Guard

Dozens of National Guard soldiers are deploying to Kuwait. They are set to spend nine months overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Spartan Shield. The deployment begins in February. Members of the 196th are preparing for their time in the Middle East, and they aren’t alone.

Thirty-nine members of a South Dakota Army National Guard unit based in Sioux Falls are preparing for deployment in Kuwait. Major Anthony Deiss says most of the time entire units are mobilized for missions, but these force protection and security operations don’t require everyone in the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

“The MEB, in its nature, it’s able to provide a variety of different command and control mission sets, which security is one of them, logistics, the sustainment and support-type roles – managing an area of operation, different sized forces in a theater environment, so they do inherently have that unique, specific mission set to be able to do this,” Deiss says. “But they don’t need all 200 members; they only need a small section to be able to fulfill this particular type of mission.”

Deiss says Guard members were put on alert last year, so they’re readying for deployment. He says the soldiers will spend a few weeks at Fort Bliss is Texas for more specific training before leaving for nine months in Kuwait.

“There’s still turmoil in the Middle East and Iraq and Syria. Kuwait is still a key hub for the US military and the region and the support we provide to that part of the world, so we’re still fully engaged, fully employed. We’ve got and two more going out the door,” Deiss says. “So I think it’s just a reminder for South Dakotans and the American public that the military is still engaged overseas in helping to provide security and peace throughout these unstable regions of the world.

Deiss says the group is among other South Dakota soldiers active overseas.

"We’ve got one unit deployed to Afghanistan, six members of an aviation unit there providing aerial surveillance support for ground commanders in the field, and then we’ve got an upcoming deployment in August for an engineer company based out of Wagner and Rapid City, and that’s about 160 soldiers. They do vertical construction. They’ll also be going to Kuwait," Deiss says.

This is the second mobilization for the 196th, which deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010-2011.

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