1086th back in La. today

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; For the families of members of the 1086th Transportation Company, it’s finally real.

They’re coming home.

The unit, many of whose members hail from Concordia Parish, boarded an airplane at just after 9 a.m. Tuesday to head back to England Air Force Base in Alexandria.

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They’re scheduled to arrive at just after 10 a.m. today and should get at least a few minutes to spend with family members this afternoon.

For those like Tanya Jenkins, mother of Spc. Michael Jenkins, it’s as if they’ve waited a lifetime for that experience.

&uot;I can’t even concentrate,&uot; she said Tuesday night. &uot;I’m ready to drive there now and wait for him.&uot;

Still, she has to wait until this morning, for she and other family members of 1086th soldiers will travel to Alexandria as a group this morning to place signs on the fence at the base so the troops can see them as they disembark.

Before the troops &045; who have been serving in Iraq since February &045; can come home to Vidalia, the military has to take care of business.

According to Kathleen Stevens of the unit’s Family Support Group, the soldiers will not be through with outprocessing and allowed to return to Vidalia until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

But that delay isn’t stopping family, friends and other well-wishers from making plans to greet the troops when they do make it home.

&uot;We want to get everybody out with flags when they do come through the parish,&uot; Stevens said Monday.

There are even tentative plans to get the Ferriday High School band to play as the soldiers come through that town.

At 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at the old parish courthouse on Carter Street, the Family Support Group will hold a welcoming ceremony for the 1086th. The soldiers will ride in the Vidalia Christmas parade at 3 p.m. that day and will also ride in Ferriday’s parade.