National Guard Armory says good-bye to Salem - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

National Guard Armory says good-bye to Salem

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With those armories closing, it sure was an emotional day for the South Dakota Army National Guard.

KSFY News was at the armory in Salem for it's relocation ceremony as it says good-bye to the community it called home for more than fifty years.

Steve Hoiten served with the National Guard in Salem for 22 years.  He says it's a sad day for his home unit.

"It's a letdown to see it go, but on the other aspect of it, it's nice to see we're still rolling on and moving into another community with the same members, same batter and still moving forward," Hoiten said.

The National Guard says federal budget cuts led to the closing of the Salem armory.

Maj. Anthony Deiss said "it's an unfortunate reality, that the guard is facing, in tough economic times, a reduction in the budget, a reduction in our force structure that we've seen from the army."

The closing of the armory center here is not only a tough day for the soldiers who serve here, but also for those who served before them.

Jim Giesler said "the closing is, kind of, it was a home to us, and now seeing it go away, it's just really tough."

Jim Giesler and his brother Larry both came out to reunite with old friends

"We're both past members of the B-battery, we're brothers, we're raised here in Salem and so we wanted to be here for the closing ceremony of a function that we used to be with," Larry Giesler said.

Having grown up in Salem, Larry Giesler knows how important the armory is to the community.

"It's sad because the community really liked having the guys here and stuff. we're part of it, they're a part of it, it's the inevitable, just like in the military. we're used to it," Larry Giesler said.

Now it's time for the soldiers to leave Salem. Tomorrow, they pass the torch and re-flag their unit in Yankton.

The armory unit relocations are part of federal budget cuts and U.S. Army restructuring.

As the Salem unit relocates to Yankton, units in Winner and Platte will relocate to Rapid City or Wagner.

And a new regional readiness center is being built in Watertown to consolidate units from Redfield,  Webster, and Miller.

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