South Dakota NG and Lakota Nation join to welcome UH-72

South Dakota NG and Lakota Nation join to welcome UH-72

17-May-2011 Source: South Dakota National Guard

CRAZY HORSE, S.D. – Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard as well as members of the Lakota Nation gathered to welcome one of their very own.

It was a day of celebration, blessings and unveiling for those who came together to observe and participate in the day’s events.

With the stage set to the backdrop of Crazy Horse Memorial, and surrounded by the Black Hills, the “guest of honor” showcased itself to the community.

The UH‐72A “Lakota” Light Utility Helicopter made its debut appearance during a welcoming ceremony here today with Soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard and members of the Lakota Nation, in an event that helped promote unity and diversity between the two communities.

“I am proud that we have the National Guard doing something like this,” said Master Sgt. Kelly L. Moore, a senior maintenance sergeant with the Joint Force Headquarters aviation section. “This event has brought both the National Guard and the Lakota Nation together to help promote unity.”

Several members of the Lakota Nation agreed with Moore.

“It’s an honor for the National Guard to give the Lakota name to the helicopter,” said Orlando B. Morrison Sr., a veterans service officer and director of veterans programs for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “This will bring the tribes, the National Guard and the people of South Dakota closer together.”

The UH‐72A was named “Lakota” as part of the Army’s long‐standing tradition of naming its helicopters after Native American tribes.

‐more‐ “I think the tribes coming together, the whole concept of the helicopter being named the Lakota, and holding a welcoming ceremony that incorporates our traditions helps to bring awareness to the Lakota Nation,” said Rodney M. Bordeaux, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Rep. Kristi Noem, congresswoman for the state of South Dakota who spoke at the ceremony, said she believed that the spirit of partnership between the National Guard and the Lakota Nation when naming the aircraft is going to bring honor to everyone involved.

“It’s going to build and strengthen many relationships over the years,” Noem said.
“It’s going to be a testimony to our children and to our grandchildren of what we can do and what we can accomplish in the name of our great nations.”

The welcoming ceremony ended as the two communities united as one to celebrate in welcoming their very own UH‐72A “Lakota.”

The helicopter and its crew was given a Native American blessing, a commemorative blast was detonated on Crazy Horse Memorial and the day’s events concluded with an afternoon of singing, dancing and other traditional Lakota activities showcasing the diverse, yet united, relationship between the Lakota Nation and the South Dakota National Guard.

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