By Sgt. Carl Johnson - 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
PIERRE, S.D. - A deployment ceremony was held to honor about 70 Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and their families, July 27, at T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre.
The unit departs for a nine-month deployment to the Middle East to provide multi-functional logistics and support operations.
Gov. Kristi Noem, Sen. John Thune, Sen. Michael Rounds, Rep. Dusty Johnson and Maj. Gen. Jeff Marlette, SDNG adjutant general, all gave remarks in support of the Soldiers and their families.
"Before I served in the House of Representatives and before I became governor, I was a mom," said Gov. Kristi Noem. "From that perspective, I am very thankful for those who give up their lives to protect me and my family."
Rep. Johnson also related his comments to family and being thankful for the sacrifices of others.
"What can you say when the sacrifice is so great that it rises above any words that might be said?" said Johnson. "So, I'll just say thank you!"
This will be the second mobilization for the 152nd CSSB since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Lt. Col. David Moore, commander of the 152nd, expressed his appreciation of the sacrifice of Soldiers he will lead during the battalion's overseas mission.
"Greater love hath no man than this; that he gives up his life for his friend," said Moore. "The men and women of the 152nd CSSB exemplify the sentiment of that verse. The verse does not just describe physical death but also being willing to give up your time to serve and protect those we leave behind."
Maj. Gen. Marlette also addressed the families of those deploying.
"It is not just the person in uniform who does the serving," said Marlette. "Every family of every Soldier here is serving this country as well."
As a part of that service, the 152nd has a unique mission in support of U.S. objectives in the Middle East.
They act as a courier of personnel, equipment and other supplies that keep armies running. Within the 152nd is the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, which facilitates the Soldier training and administrative functions of the battalion.
"We (the 152nd) essentially operate as a UPS," said Capt. Richard Bauman, HHC commander. "We make sure everything gets where in needs to go. Our objective for this mission is less to be front and center and more to provide support to our allies."
After the ceremony, the unit will report to Fort Hood, Texas, to complete several weeks of theater-specific training prior to deployment overseas.