RED SHIRT, S.D. – Soldiers from the Kansas Army National Guard and Army Reserve units worked with Task Force 38, Canadian Army, to provide humanitarian support to Native American reservations throughout South Dakota during the Golden Coyote training exercise last month.
The annual timber haul operation provides an opportunity for military forces to use their training and experience while supporting local Native American communities.
“This mission is really important because it builds relationships between the Native American communities and the National Guard units that support the mission,” says Sergeant (SGT) Shaun Phillips, an 88M Truck Driver with the 137th Transportation Company, Kansas National Guard.
The 137th coordinated with the other units to load timber at a site near Custer, S.D. The timber was then delivered to multiple sites on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations.
“It’s great to help other communities, and this kind of mission is very similar to the missions we could be tasked with overseas,” says Specialist William Curtin, 137th truck driver.
The humanitarian support benefits the community members and provides new training experiences for Soldiers.
“There are narrow, winding roads and various terrain conditions here that provide experience for our drivers and prepares us for different environments,” says SGT Phillips. “We’re able to practice improvising different kinds of loads safely, using our equipment and operating as a team.”
Throughout the Golden Coyote training exercise, about 200 loads of timber were scheduled to be delivered to the local communities.
“It’s a good thing, it helps this community and other surrounding communities that need this wood,” says Peter Bissonette, a resident from Red Shirt.
The wood is often used for construction, heating, cooking, and ceremonies throughout the year.
“This is the unit’s third year participating in this mission, and it’s rewarding to give back to the communities,” says SGT Phillips.
If you are interested in joining the Army National Guard to serve your community and Nation part-time, there are many career options available. The Guard offers more than 150 careers, including those in infantry, transportation, and engineering. You can check out the full roster of opportunities on our job board. Make sure you have a look at the Guard’s benefits, including money for college.
From an original story by SGT Kristin Lichius,129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, which originally appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in June 2018.