This Sunday, community and local business owners, along with the South Dakota National Guard, hope that you’ll join them in a send-off party for the 1742nd Transportation Company at Mad Mary’s Steakhouse in Flandreau.
The troops, based out of both Sioux Falls and Flandreau, were given notice in mid-July that they would be deployed to the southern border to help prevent the illegal movement of weapons, drugs, contraband and people. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Guard Bureau requested the deployment. The company leaves early October and is scheduled to be gone for upwards of a year.
Christina Smith, the owner of Mad Mary’s, took the lead in planning Sunday’s events. A send-off party is scheduled in the parking lot from 4-7pm with speakers from the Guard and the community. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
“I have a lot of family that have served in the military,” Smith said. “I remember as a young child our family supporting our troops in every way from rallies to care packages to letters to homecomings and send offs.”
It means a great deal, she added, to be able to do this for our local troops.
Staff Sergeant Bart Sample is grateful for the way the community has come together to help Smith put this on, but he’s not surprised. Flandreau, he said, has always been a big supporter of the unit. So much so that he said when soldiers come to Flandreau, they often don’t want to leave.
“The community, it’s just amazing,” said Sample. “You really don’t get the small town support elsewhere that you have here. People here almost become like a second family to our members - a lot of them are on a first name basis at many businesses. Flandreau also has a lot of veterans, even former members of 1742nd that have retired, so there are a lot of them here. To have the kind of send-off that is being planned from essentially your extended family, it means a lot and Christina’s work on this has been amazing.”
There will be food and entertainment, free of charge and while supplies last. Attendees are encouraged to bring along a lawn chair or blanket as seating will be limited.
The federal deployment to the southern border is separate from a recent state deployment by Gov. Kristi Noem, who sent 50 National Guard members from South Dakota to help in Texas.
About 3,000 Guard members from several states are involved in the federal mission, serving along the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.