235th returns to South Dakota
Published: Tuesday, December 31st, 2013
Amid the members of the 235th Military Police Co. sat hundreds of family members, friends and community supporters at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City Dec. 23 to welcome home 124 soldiers from the South Dakota Army National Guard (SDNG) unit. The 235th just returned from a nine-month deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Among the soldiers were Corey Virtue of Custer and David VanVleck of Hermosa.
The ceremony in their honor included speakers Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker and Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general of the SDNG.
This is the end of the third mobilization for the 235th. The unit previously deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle to Fort Carson, Colo., in 2003, as well as to Afghanistan in support of OEF in 2006.
The busses were escorted by the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff's Department and the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
“It still seems unreal, it hasn’t quite set in yet,” said Sandy Crown, mother of VanVleck. “It will finally seem normal when he is asleep at home tonight.”
The Civic Center theater was filled almost to capacity with family, friends and well-wishers during the ceremony.
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