The Ottumwa Courier

833rd Engineer Company

June 6, 2008

833rd return scheduled

OTTUMWA — There are conflicting reports about when the 833rd Engineer Company will return to Ottumwa.

Part of the unit is already at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin, the base at which they trained and departed for service in Iraq. Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood told The Courier on Monday the military is waiting on the arrival of about 80 soldiers.

That's enough to make the military hesitant about releasing a formal announcement of the unit's return. But some are already planning for a Sunday homecoming. Bill Hansen, the director of veterans' services at Indian Hills Community College, says he has been told the welcoming ceremony will be at the Hellyer Center Sunday afternoon. Hansen called the notification "sorta semi-official."

"That's what we've heard," he said. "That's a tentative time."

Hapgood hedged, calling the Sunday schedule "ambitious."

"We've got a couple things that have to happen first," he said.

Hapgood did not rule anything out. He said the homecoming ceremony will most likely take place "late this weekend or early next week."

The military confirmed last Friday that the first soldiers from the 833rd were back in the U.S. That was enough to bring out yellow ribbons along North Court Street and Alta Vista Avenue, the route soldiers' buses will likely take to Indian Hills for the ceremony.

The 833rd left Ottumwa for active duty last June for active duty in Iraq. This was the company's second deployment.

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