Wyatt Nickell

Wyatt Nickell is all smiles after his return home to Iowa as he hugs wife, Catherine Nickell (left) and sister Gracee Wyatt (right).

As military families are all too familiar, holidays can be a difficult time of year when loved ones are away serving their country during their deployment period. Fortunately, for Iowa Army National Guard soldiers and former Wayne CSD graduate Wyatt Nickell, this holiday season will be extra special.

Nickell returned to Iowa with fellow soldiers from the 3654th Support Maintenance Company on Nov. 23, just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. A Welcome Home ceremony was held at the Des Moines International Airport for the soldiers returning after their nine-month (293 day) deployment at Camp Buehring in Udari, Kuwait.

“We weren’t supposed to be back this early for Thanksgiving  however extra overtime was put in to allow us to make it back sooner and I’m so grateful for that,” said Nickell. 

Nickell works as a construction equipment repairer for the 91L. His duties include tactical inspections to ensure vehicles are mission capable while overseas.

While technology advances have certainly aided in helping military members stay connected back home during these several months long deployment periods, at times there are noticeable difficulties as well.

“Having cellphones definitely makes it better, but the time difference was difficult,” he added. “I would be eight or nine hours ahead of my family here so it was hard at times to communicate as I would either be sleeping or at work when they would be available to talk. Overall though it still makes it easier and makes the time while gone seem to go by quicker. My parents and wife struggled quite a bit at times with me gone, but having the phone contact did help with that.”

He noted his wife held a lot of responsibility while he was gone as she moved into a new home in Corydon.

“Overall though my family and friends handled it really well,” Nickell said.

When asked what his first plans were with his arrival home there was no delay in Nickell’s response. “I plan to spend as much time with my family as possible now,” he stated.

He is also looking to return back to a normal life including finding a job in the very near future. 

Nickell will officially be released from this deployment on Monday, Dec. 20 and will return to drill process in March of 2022.

“I have gotten to do a lot of things and take part in things I never imagined I would before joining the Army and I hope more children in Wayne County look into what the Iowa National Guard can do for them as well,” he said in closing. “Deployments can help you find yourself and open up so many possibilities. It’s been a great experience for me.”

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