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Military and Veterans Affairs, Dept. of

 Record Group
Identifier: MVA


  • 1916 - 2010

Administrative History

During World War II, recognizing the need for veterans’ assistance in the state, Governor M. Q. Sharpe called a special session of the State Legislature on July 10, 1944, to establish the South Dakota State Veterans Department and the Veterans Commission. Prior to this time, there existed what was described as a ‘mere gesture’ towards veterans’ assistance. This gesture was in the form of a single contact officer whose total reimbursement was $2,500 per year for salary and all expenses. The position of Contact Officer is believed to have existed from about 1923 until the establishment of the Department in 1944.

The legislation establishing the Veterans Department and the Commission included authority for counties to employ County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO). The law, however, did not include any requirements as to salary, term of office, or standards of performance. Many of the original CVSO’s were individuals who had served voluntarily as Post Service Officers for various veterans organizations and, while they were dedicated in their efforts, meager salaries provided little incentive toward improvement. Through the years new legislation implemented the following changes: 1) a requirement that each county must employ, or join with another county in employing, a CVSO; 2) supplemental salary assistance from the state for counties who maintain certain salary and service standards; and 3) authorization for the tribes to hire their own Tribal Veterans Service Officer (TVSO).

Legislation enacted in 1973 combined administration of the Veterans Department with the South Dakota National Guard under the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. In 2011, by Executive Order, Governor Dennis Daugaard once again separated these entities, creating a separate Department of the Military, and Department of Veterans Affairs.


8.6 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Guide to the Records of the South Dakota Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
In Process
Sara Casper, Government Records Archivist, and Hannah Marshall, Processing Archivist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement
1st Edition

Repository Details

Part of the South Dakota State Archives Repository

900 Governors Dr
Pierre South Dakota 57501 USA
605-773-6041 (Fax)