AUGUSTA, Maine — A part of the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineering Battalion — the 1035th Survey and Design Team — will be home on Friday, and a warm welcome is planned at the Augusta Armory, Maj. Michael Steinbuchel said Wednesday.
“Maine State Police will meet them in Kittery, right at the bridge, and escort them to Augusta,” he said.
The 133rd returned stateside on Saturday from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan and are being debriefed at Fort Dix in New Jersey. The 13 members of the 1035th arrived early and therefore are returning home early, Steinbuchel said.
“The soldiers are expected to arrive by bus at the Augusta Armory on 179 Western Avenue from approximately noon to 1 p.m. [Friday],” the major said in an email. “They will be welcomed by friends and family at a public ceremony.”
The unit will be riding in a commercial bus for their return trip, Steinbuchel said.
During the deployment, the 1035th team provided engineer surveys of job sites and detailed drawings for both vertical, horizontal and geospatial engineer missions to every company in the 133rd Engineer Battalion, according to Steinbuchel’s email.
“Before any project is done, you need to bring in a survey team to draft up the plans,” he said, explaining the unit role. “They make the blueprints and pass those plans on to the engineers.”
This unit provided survey support to the largest Air Force construction project ever undertaken on Bagram Airfield, the major said.
When the 1035th arrives, their family and friends will be in the armory’s drill hall.
“They’ll march in, there will be a couple minutes of presentations and then chaos as they’re released,” Steinbuchel said.
A total of 178 members of the 133rd left on its third overseas deployment in August 2013 and served in Afghanistan working to downsize and consolidate the bases there as the United States prepares to withdraw its remaining military forces from the country.
The 133rd, with about 560 soldiers, is made up of soldiers from the 136th Engineering Company in Skowhegan and Lewiston, 185th Engineering Support Company from Caribou, 251st Engineering Company SAPPER of Norway, the Forward Support Company in Portland, Headquarters Support Company, the 262nd Engineering Company based in Belfast and Westbrook, and the 1035th Survey and Design Team of Gardiner.
The Maine soldiers who were deployed overseas are part of the Headquarters Company, Forward Support Company and the 1035th, Steinbuchel said.
One of the 1035th soldiers, Sgt. Ryan Kelly of Lewiston, along with fellow 133rd member Sgt. Dana Gross of Levant, had their “flat daddy” images carried to the Brad Paisley concert in Bangor and were the subject of a search by the superstar.
Gross and the rest of the deployed 133rd, a group of nearly 160 soldiers, are expected to return early next week, Steinbuchel said.