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SD Soldiers Deployed

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Since 9/11, more than 5,000 South Dakota soldiers have been deployed. Saturday morning, 160 more were put on active duty.

There wasn't a dry eye in the Harrisburg High School gym.

Sgt. Jeffery Brian Jones, South Dakota Army National Guard said," I'm excited, excited and nervous at the same time."

For some of these soldiers in the 1742nd Transportation Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard, this is their third deployment. But for Jones, this whole experience is a first.

 "There's a lot of preparation as far as getting your house ready, and making sure your family is taken care of financially and emotionally as well," Jones said.

Jones will be away from his wife and their children for a year. He and the other 159 soldiers in his unit will be in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. There, they will be getting equipment and materials ready to come back to the United States.
Jones's son Lance Shemwell has been to deployment ceremonies before for his siblings, but he said going to one for his dad is by far the most emotional.
Shemwell said, "It's hard, but I know he will be safe, he's in the hands of a lot of people that I trust."

But while the 16-year-old will miss father son bonding time, there's something else he'll miss too.

 "Him doing all of the work around the house, yeah I'm going to have to start chipping in on that," Shemwell said.

Jones said while he will miss his wife and her cooking, there is one thing he is pretty excited for once he arrives at his new home.

"I understand that we get fed really well while we are overseas," laughed Jones.

While these soldiers won't be home for Christmas, and they don't know the next time they will see their families, Jones said at least they will have one another.

"I consider them as my brothers and sisters, so I want to be there for them as well," Jones said.

This unit has been deployed two other times. The first was in 1990 for Operation Desert Storm, the second was in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Jones and the rest of his company will leave for Fort Hood, Texas Sunday. There they will train for several more weeks to prepare for deployment.

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