Public invited to attend Armed Forces Day ceremonies

The Military & Veterans Affairs Committee of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is hosting the annual Armed Forces Day program on Saturday, May 20. The program will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance, located at 1600 W. Russell St.

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of the country. On Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

The 2023 Armed Forces Day ceremony features a keynote address from Brigadier General Deborah Bartunek. Brig. Gen. Bartunek is the first female to hold the rank of brigadier general for the South Dakota National Guard. In this role, she serves as the principal advisor to SDNG Adjutant General Jeff Marlette for all staff issues relating to domestic operations, supporting civil authorities, and homeland defense. During her 40-year career in the military, Brig. Gen. Bartunek has held positions at all officer leadership levels and several enlisted positions. She most recently served as Chief of Operations, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Brig. Gen. Bartunek lives in Rapid City with her husband, Ted, and two sons, Trevor and Austin.

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce will present Stars and Stripes awards to Bill and Rachel Burggraaf and to Sanford Health for proudly displaying the American flag year-round. Outstanding Achievement Awards will be presented to selected guardsmen/women and reservists for outstanding military and community achievement. This year’s recipients are:

  • Army National Guard SSG Joshua D. Baer
  • Navy Reserve CTN1(IW) Connor L. Huisken
  • Air National Guard SrA Zachery R. Lange

Oath of Enlistment Ceremonies will induct South Dakota volunteers into the U.S. Armed Forces.