Members of the 842nd Engineer Company received the Outstanding Veterans Day Program Supporter Award for the BFMS this year. The award was presented to 842nd representatives Specialist Cash Johnson, Readiness NCO Sergeant First Class Katherina Dufek, and Specialist Bailey Lawrence by the BFMS principal, Kevin Smidt and student council representatives Emma Nehl and Jeffery Lafontaine. Program coordinator, Reva Potter, shared the following with the audience:
The 842nd Engineer Company was established in 1968, at that time there were armories in Spearfish, Belle Fourche, Lead, and Deadwood. Through the years the locations have changed but have always remained in Spearfish and Belle Fourche; today they are also located in Sturgis.
The 842nd is an earthmoving company made up of a wide variety of heavy equipment that has proved very useful when responding to natural disasters around the state. Of the many disasters that they have been involved in some of the most notable are: the Rapid City flood in 1972, the spring blizzards across western South Dakota in 1997, the Missouri River flooding around Pierre and Dakota Dunes in 2011, along with providing forest fire support across the Black Hills on many different occasions.
To train on their construction skills they have completed many projects around the area including crosswind runways in Spearfish, Wall and Sturgis, removal of railway and gravelling of the Mickelson Trail through the Black Hills, a long-time partnership with the Bureau of Land Management has led the improvement and expansion of many roads and access areas around Orman Dam.
Along with their training in South Dakota the 842nd has also trained around the globe in Panama, Nicaragua, Italy, Germany, and Surinam. The 842nd has deployed twice during the Global War on Terrorism. In 2003 they were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to Baghdad Iraq. In 2011 they were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 842nd Engineer Company has a long history of representing Belle Fourche across the state and around the globe.
Right here in Belle Fourche, our Veterans Day Program has had the support of the 842nd throughout the decades of this program.
Members of the 842nd have been speakers in our classrooms, have presented the colors at the programs, have shared patriotic education and have even been the featured topic of our program.
We appreciate that the 842nd has been willing to work on Veterans Day – a day that should be a relaxing holiday for them! They have helped to make this program a success year after year.
Thank you on behalf of the students and staff here at BFMS.