Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
April 13, 2013

1133rd: Nelson appreciates life with family
by Kristin Buehner

ROCKWELL — Steve Nelson, formerly of Britt, was 42 when the 1133rd unit of the Iowa National Guard was deployed to the Iraq War in April 2003.

“We had a forewarning that this was a possibility,” recalled Nelson, who today is the security supervisor at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa.

A first sergeant during the Gulf War, Nelson said he remembers feeling anxious about taking soldiers into a war.

“You have responsibilities to keep everybody safe,” he said.

Father of two daughters, Jennifer and Joli, who were teenagers at the time, Nelson said they and his wife, Kendra, were naturally worried for his safety.

The death of Spc. Joshua Knowles of Sheffield on Feb. 5, 2004, was the most difficult time, Nelson said.

“When you lose a member of your family it’s really tough,” he said. “He was really a good kid. As a first sergeant, you’re like a mother and father to the troops. Families entrust their loved ones to you. I think that’s why I took it so hard.”

Unlike most of the soldiers in the 1133rd, Nelson was a career soldier and law enforcement officer, starting with his time as a military police officer at Fort Campbell, Ky., and in Germany. He spent 25 years in the military. He then pursued a career in law enforcement as an officer with the Forest City Police Department for 16 years, followed by 14 years as a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy, from which he retired in July 2012.

He and his wife recently built a new home in Rockwell.

Spending time in the war in Iraq has given him a greater appreciation of the life he has back home, Nelson said.

“I think you go a little deeper when it comes to faith and family.”

Photograph courtesy of Globe-Gazette
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2016



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