Nebraska National Guard soldiers return from Iraq
BY C. DAVID KOTOK
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
LINCOLN – The final convoy for 250 Nebraska National Guard soldiers rolled up O Street Sunday morning to reunite them with parents, spouses, children, family and friends.
Those at home, who had waited an extra three months for this moment, gave their loved ones an ectatic welcome at Haymarket Park’s home plate.
The soldiers had served in Iraq for 15 months, longer than any other Nebraska unit. Their planned return in March was extended as part of President Bush’s troop surge.
Counting more than six months of training, the combat soldiers of the First Squadron, 167th Cavalry and 134th Infrantry Detachment, Long Rang Surveillance were away from their Nebraska homes for 21 months.
Gov. David Heineman headed the dignitaries on hand to honor them.
The Nebraskans boarded six buses at 2 a.m. Sunday at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin for the final trip home. They arrived at Haymarket Park just before 10:30 a.m.
They returned without two key members of the unit. Staff Sgt. Jeff Hansen, 31, of Cairo, Neb., and Sgt. Germaine Debro, 33, died last year while on missions.
There are no words.
Welcome Home, Kevin.