National Guard's 109th Engineer Battalion changes command in ceremony in Rapid City
By RAPID CITY JOURNAL Published: July 24, 2020
RAPID CITY, S.D. (Tribune News Service) — The South Dakota Army National Guard's 109th Engineer Battalion changed commanders during a ceremony Thurdsday at Range Road Armory in Rapid City.
Lt. Col. Kevin Huxford of Rapid City took command of the unit from Lt. Col. Dennis Bickett, who served in the position since October 2019.
"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to take command of the 109th Engineer Battalion," Huxford said in a news release. "I enlisted in the 200th Engineer Company in the 1990s and this company was then under the 109th. It's such an honor to be back as a part of this battalion again and in this role. It's fantastic!"
As commander, Huxford will be responsible for about 160 soldiers in the 109th with a mission to coordinate and execute tactical operations involving mobility, counter mobility and survivability tasks on the battlefield.
The 109th also provides command and control for about 400 Soldiers in five assigned units throughout the state to support training, administrative and logistical requirements to maintain readiness in support of state and federal missions.
"I'm excited that we got the 109th back into the South Dakota National Guard footprint," Huxford said. "This battalion has a long and storied history in the SDNG. I'm looking forward to help write the next chapters for this great unit."
Huxford currently serves as the full-time state training officer at Joint Force Headquarters and has over 25 years of service in the SDARNG. Bickett will be assigned to Joint Force Headquarters.
"The 109th Engineer Battalion is an outstanding organization with an amazing history, and I'm going to miss it," said Bickett. "It has been a pleasure to be a part of this battalion over the last year, and I want to thank all the officers, NCOs and soldiers of the 109th for working so hard to increase our readiness."
Huxford, a native of Pierre, began his career in March of 1995 when he enlisted as a bridge crewman in the 200th En. Co. In September 2001, he received a commission as a second lieutenant and was assigned as an engineer platoon leader in Company A, 153rd Engineer Battalion.
Over the course of his career, Huxford has held a variety of staff, training, operations and administrative officer positions, which included assignments in the 153rd Engineer Battalion, 152nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 109th Regional Support Group, Recruiting and Retention Battalion and Joint Force Headquarters. He also served as commander of the 155th Engineer Company.
Huxford is also a combat veteran and served on two deployments overseas. He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from December 2003 - March 2005 with Company A, 153rd En. Bn., and during Operation Enduring Freedom from July 2013 — January 2014 with the 152nd CSSB.