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June 6, 2008

Coming home—833rd Engineer Company set to return Saturday

OTTUMWA — After a year on active duty, the 833rd Engineer Company is heading home.

Jaque Bookin-Nosbisch, wife of 833rd Sgt. 1st Class Sam Nosbisch, said there is one overriding emotion at her home: “Relief,” that her husband would soon be home.

But she was still waiting on word from the military.

“Wait, I just got an e-mail,” she said. Nosbisch paused for a couple seconds to read the message. “Yay! It’s official.”

Even before that message, though, she said she was “really excited” to know the unit was back.

“We’re just ecstatic,” she said, “ready to get our lives back on track.”

“Has it only been a year?” Rep. John Whitaker asked jokingly. You could hear the smile in his voice. His son, Gabe, is among the soldiers who will arrive at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hellyer Center on the Indian Hills Community College campus.

Another soldier’s father was at the Ottumwa VFW post when he found out. Dave Handling’s face softened as he broke into a wide grin. He’s ready to see Derek, the son he calls “my hero.

“We didn’t know if it was going to be Saturday or Sunday,” he said.

The first indications of a homecoming for the 833rd came a week ago, and it initially looked like the unit would return on Sunday. For family, moving up the return by a day is an awful lot better than moving it back.

Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood said the last of the 833rd soldiers arrived at Fort McCoy, Wis., around 9 p.m. Monday. The five-day turnaround for getting the soldiers processed and back home is within the Army’s normal schedules, according to Hapgood, but still impressive given the number of soldiers that use Fort McCoy as a transit point.

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