Veterans & Military Affairs
Men and women who have served and are serving in the nation’s armed forces play a major role in the culture of South Dakota and the Black Hills. Nearly one in ten residents of the state is a veteran. Federal expenditures for veterans in South Dakota exceed half a billion dollars.
Two major Veterans Administration health care facilities are located in the Black Hills: one at Fort Meade near Sturgis and the other in Hot Springs. Together, they provided inpatient services to 2,405 people in 2009. Outpatient visits totaled 449,000, including post-conflict counseling delivered at the Vet Centers in Rapid City and Martin (Pine Ridge). For an overview of the U.S. Veterans Administration programs in South Dakota, go here.
Ellsworth Air Force Base is home to the 28th Bomb Wing which flies the B-1B Lancer bomber. The base is the second largest employer in South Dakota, and the largest in the Black Hills region. In 2008, 3,246 active duty service members were stationed at Ellsworth. Another 970 civilians were employed in base-related positions. Ellsworth's total economic impact was estimated to be $300.7 million, as described in the 2008 Economic Impact Analysis.
Members of the South Dakota Air and Army National Guard also serve to assist and protect the citizens of the state. As of July, 2008, over two-thirds of the state's Air National Guard members had served in the Global War on Terror, while the Army National Guard had mobilized nearly 3,200 service members in the conflict. (Source: Congressional testimony by U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin)
Black Hills residents also remember veterans who are buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery.
For information about veterans' services, check out:
The Veterans Administration Black Hills Health Care System provides support services to the Black Hills National Cemetery, the Veterans Outreach Centers in Rapid City and Martin and serves as the primary health care provider for the State Veterans Home in Hot Springs. Services are also provided through Ellsworth Air Force Base, the South Dakota National Guard and many other community partners. Read the Department of Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care System 2010 Annual Report. In May 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General conducted an assessment and review of the VA Black Hills Health Care System. The report included recommendations for program improvements in seven of the eight operations studied.
Oversees operations of the South Dakota National Guard, Veterans Affairs, and the State Veterans Home. The National Guard recruits and trains units capable of mobilizing for active federal service, assists civil authorities in the protection of life and property, helps to preserve order and public safety and aids and assists veterans and their dependents.
US Vietnam Veterans Center
621, 6th Street #101, Rapid City
Military Veterans Affairs
2823 West Main Street, Rapid City