Dozens of Berks County soldiers are on their way home after a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army's 333rd Engineering Company, headquartered in Cumru Township, is expected to touch down in Harrisburg on Tuesday afternoon and arrive in Berks County between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., said Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks County.
The unit will be escorted by local police and firefighters and motorcycle enthusiasts, and Schwank is urging others to take part in the welcome-home celebration.
"Family, friends and local citizens gave the 333rd a fitting sendoff last year as they lined the sidewalks of Route 724 and Lancaster Avenue (Route 222) in Shillington,” Schwank said. “It certainly would be fitting and appropriate if area residents again stood along the same route to salute and welcome the company back home."
Most of the unit's more than 140 members, who have been deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, are from the Reading area, said Schwank, who plans to meet the soldiers at the airport before their ride home.
"I encourage everyone to take a few minutes tomorrow to greet our hometown heroes and let them know how much we appreciate their sacrifice and service," she said.
The 333rd conducts horizontal construction operations that include road work, leveling operations, finish grade for roads and airfields, and surface and drainage maintenance.