CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. - Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard's 200th Engineer Company started annual training with a river crossing on the Missouri River in support of the Golden Coyote training exercise, June 9, 2018.

Golden Coyote is an annual training exercise hosted by the South Dakota National Guard, which is held June 9-24. Participating in this year's exercise has 30 units representing nine states comprised of the Army, Air Force and Navy, units from Canada, Denmark and exchange soldiers from Germany and the United Kingdom.

"Today's mission is to use our improved ribbon bridge and bridge erection boats to transport 30 pieces of equipment from two units across the Missouri River in support of the Golden Coyote training exercise," said Capt. Geoffrey Pollman, commander of the 200th Engineer Company.

Two platoons from Pierre and Mobridge participated in the days training. The unit used a total of three rafts and nine bridge erection boats to participate in the river crossing.

"Annual training gives us an opportunity to work together and hone our skills," said Spc. Landon Morlock, boat operator, 200th Engineer Company. "If we were ever activated for a deployment we would be prepared and proficient in our duties."

The mission of the 200th is to conduct dry and wet gap crossings using improved ribbon bridge and bridge erection boats with a secondary mission of equipment transportation. Wet gap crossing is when a river or body of water creates an obstacle; a dry gap is when a terrain creates the obstacle.

"This training we are conducting today allows us to prepare for future operations in countries that have multiple rivers that run through the country," said Pollman. "When confronted with a wet gap, we will have the confidence and knowledge to cross the river if a bridge was damaged or nonexistent."

Training exercises like Golden Coyote help units maintain their unit readiness and perfect their craft.

"The 200th is the number one bridging company in the National Guard," said Pollman. "This status is earned by the standing of the Unit Status Report, a report that assesses a unit's readiness, equipment, training and personnel."

The Golden Coyote training exercise is one of the premier training venues for the National Guard, Reserve and active duty military, providing relevant training opportunities for combat support and combat service support units in support of overseas contingency operations and homeland defense.