More than 150 Soldiers from the South Dakota Army National Guard's 155th Engineer Company were welcomed home by family and friends at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, July 2, after returning from duty in Kuwait.

The Rapid City- and Wagner-based unit served 10 months completing new construction and remodeling projects at bases across the Middle East. 155th members traveled throughout the region, to include Iraq and Jordan, to complete carpentry, plumbing, masonry and electrical projects.

The Soldiers arrived home just in time to celebrate Independence Day with their families.

Sgt. 1st Class Adam Sanderson, of Sioux Falls says arriving home for the Holiday is extra special.

The Fourth of July for my family is a big deal, because I grew up with my family owning a fireworks stand and it's always been one of those holidays we always got together for. Arriving home in time to celebrate the holiday makes it really special.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard was one of many dignitaries to welcome the troops home:

Independence Day is about celebrating the beliefs upon which America was founded ... but beliefs alone did not secure America's way of life. Rather, it was those beliefs made tangible through the sacrifices of those who have worn our country's uniform.  It is thanks to the men and women of the 155th Engineer Company and all of those who have served that we are free.  To all the members of the 155th, to the families, and to everyone else in their lives, the people of South Dakota truly appreciate your sacrifices, your patriotism and your hard work. Thank you and welcome home.

Others present to welcome soldiers home included U.S. Senators John Thune, Mike Rounds, U.S. Representative Kristi Noem, Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender and SDNG Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch who praised the Soldiers for their service.

During their deployment, the 155th completed over 300 projects - totaling more than 67,000 man hours of work. The Soldiers remodeled schools, clinics, offices and living areas. They demolished old buildings and brought more viable buildings up to code.

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