161 South Dakota Troops Deploy to Kuwait

      Thousands joining at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Wednesday afternoon saying goodbye to members of the South Dakota Army National Guard as they get ready to head overseas.

     161 members of the guard's 155th engineer company received an alert back in February that they would be deploying to Kuwait this summer. Now the entire unit joining for a send-off ceremony before they depart for training at Fort Bliss in Texas.

     Among those in attendance today, Governor Dennis Daugaard and U.S Senators’ John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota. The troops leave Thursday August 13th, and they're spending their last few moments with family and friends. "A little nervous but I am ready to go. I have been preparing for it for about 3-4 months now doing all the training so right now I’m ready to get to Texas and get ready for Kuwait" said Keegan Heisinger, Specialist. "There’s a little bit of stress, anxiety and excitement and it gave us a good opportunity to train the company and be ready to do our mission. It’s tough on the families with the anticipation of separation from the soldiers" said David Dodson, Captain Company Commander 155th.

     The unit is mobilizing in support of 'operations enduring freedom', 'new dawn' and 'noble eagle'. The 155th also served in Kuwait in 2002 to 2003.