About "Active Duty"

Active Duty - 10/30/2009

SDPB Reports from Afghanistan, Kuwait

On the Afghanistan front, Spec. Bruce A. Jones of Sioux Falls serves with the 211th Engineer Company (Sapper), from Madison and DeSmet, of the South Dakota National Guard. The unit has just been deployed to Afghanistan. Jones is working with SDPB Radio's Sioux Falls News Producer Jackelyn Severin to provide news reports, an online diary, webcam photos and more for the network's ACTIVE DUTY project.

The first video reports are online at They include the company's journey from training in Wisconsin to Afghanistan.

"Doing the SDPB project from Afghanistan is a way to give the people back home some insight into the daily life of the typical forward deployed National Guard soldier," Jones says. "There will be many ups and downs, good days and bad, but being able to share our lives with those at home will truly be a pleasure." In civilian life, Jones is a staffer for U.S. Sen. John Thune.

Freedom is the reason Jones is on active duty. "I feel every law abiding citizen on the planet deserves to live in freedom. The fear and tyranny that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda represent must not be allowed to continue, because if they are successful in Afghanistan, their stated goal is to bring the fight to us, here. We cannot allow that to happen, and as long as I am able to help fight them, I will."

Meanwhile, SDPB Radio News Producer Jim Kent is following life in Kuwait with Chief Warrant Officer Brett Anderson of Rapid City, and life at home with Anderson's family. He is serving with the South Dakota National Guard's 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery and 147th Forward Support Company out of Watertown. They have finished about a third of their year-long deployment to the Middle East.

Go to for links to the reports.

One of the first things Anderson noticed about Kuwait was the heat. When he stepped off the plane, the heat and humidity literally took his breath away. "I think about a hundred-and-twenty was the worst we got." But Anderson and his fellow Guard members have become acclimated.

Anderson's duties involve making sure military personnel have the supplies they need. He and his unit work long days, beginning at about 5 a.m. Afterward, there are a log of activities. "That increases morale, " Anderson said. "You just don't need a bunch of people sitting around, thinking about...not being home."

As for staying in touch with his own home, Anderson and his wife, Michele, communicate by e-mail or phone several times each week. Anderson notes that as much as he's been successful in keeping himself busy, there are still difficult moments.

Meanwhile, the South Dakotans are looking ahead to the holidays - in Kuwait. Anderson says his unit will put up a Christmas tree, eat a turkey dinner, sing songs and try to have the best Christmas they can.

Stay tuned to SDPB for news reports and updates from ACTIVE DUTY.

Contact: Ruth Bylander
605-677-5289 • 800-456-0766
Fax: 605-677-5010

Spec. Bruce A. Jones

Chief Warrant Officer Brett Anderson

About South Dakota Public Broadcasting
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