South Dakota National Guard takes over the Black Hills - KOTA Territory News

South Dakota National Guard takes over the Black Hills

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Military truck after military truck rolled into Rapid City Saturday.

But it won't be long before these heavy duty vehicles make their way from the fairgrounds to other areas of the Black Hills.  "Once they get processed, they'll get fueled up and then they being to move out to their assigned campsite in the Black Hills," said Major Anthony Deiss, the public affairs officer for the South Dakota National Guard.  

The first day of the 29th annual Golden Coyote training is all about the preparation, which includes keeping track of all the soldiers. This isn't as easy as it sounds. "Keeping account of the all the soldiers on the daily, scanning ID cards. It sounds simple but it's been a work in progress for me," said Private Darius Brown, from Pennsylvania.

All these soldiers together under one roof has given Private Brown the chance to meet many of his fellow soldiers.  "My favorite part has been working with different soldiers from different places and hearing their stories," said Brown.

Soon, more than 3,500 soldiers will start training in the Black Hills using simulated explosives and practicing hand-to-hand combat. "This is a very realistic, very intense training environment that puts their skills to the test," said Deiss.

Major Deiss says Western South Dakota is the perfect area to train.  "The Black Hills area just provides a unique training environment for military forces. We have everything from grasslands and rugged terrain, mountainous hilly areas that really simulate a lot of different operational environments that we have military forces throughout the world," said Deiss. 

Humanitarian projects are also a part of the training, such as bringing timber to the reservations. "Those Native American communities use that timber for firewood, for construction purposes, and even ceremonial purposes," said Deiss.

Between those projects and the intense training, Major Deiss says to expect to see a plethora of soldiers and armored vehicles. "Watch out for them and they'll watch out for you," said Deiss.

Golden Coyote training goes until June 22.

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