By Pfc. Phil ReginaJune 13, 2008
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (Army News Service, June 13, 2008) - National Guard and Army Reserve units have delivered truckloads of lumber during the past week to towns on the Pine Ridge Reservation as part of this year's joint "Golden Coyote" exercise.
Soldiers of the 1742nd Transportation Company of the South Dakota Army National Guard and the 1116th Transportation Company of the New Mexico Army National Guard supported a mission June 5 that involved hauling raw lumber to towns within the reservation to help support the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
"Seven trucks hauling six cords of trimmed timber were delivered today," said Maj. Jade Beehler of the 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, South Dakota National Guard, and the officer in charge of the timber-haul mission. "Our ultimate goal is to deliver 120 truck loads - roughly 600 cords of wood - to eight locations on the Pine Ridge Reservation."
"We were happy to be out here in support of this mission," said Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Henio of the 1116th. "It was good training, and it gave us the opportunity to take part in something we've never taken part in before. It just feels good to do your part."
The support provided to the Oglala Sioux Tribe was much appreciated, as well as needed.
"The National Guard has come out here about two years in a row, and the wood they provide us goes a long way in helping us sustain ourselves during the winter," said Tim Yellow Bird Steele, the facility manager of the Oglala District Service Center.
"We use the wood for heat in the winter. We also use the wood to make fence posts and other general needs for the community here," added Steele.
Some members of the New Mexico National Guard and the Oglala Sioux Tribe shared a special bond. A number of the New Mexico Soldiers are members of various southwestern tribes including the Navajo, the Pueblo and the Zuni.
"Many members of our unit are Native American, and yes, we share that bond with these
people," said Staff Sgt. Norman Martinez of the 1116th. "But ultimately, it's all about helping people. When we put on this uniform, we take it upon ourselves to do the best that we can do for whomever it is we are helping, whether it be here or in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit."
The Golden Coyote exercise runs from June 7 - 21 in the southern Black Hills. More than 4,000 service members from 92 units, representing 27 states and four foreign nations, are participating in the exercise.
Ten Army Reserve units are participated in the joint exercise. The 327th and 380th Quartermaster Battalions combined to form a cohesive Combat Service Support headquarters which is providing command and control over a number of petroleum supply and medium truck companies.
The 475th Quartermaster Company has been supporting Operation Timber Haul, which so far has delivered a total of 25 flatbed truckloads of timber, weighing 500 tons, to Lakota and Oglala Sioux tribes.
The Golden Coyote exercise has been conducted for the past 24 years. The exercise provides relevant training opportunities, officials said, in support of the war on terror and homeland defense.