On 7 February 1945 the 801st Engineers were awarded the Meritorious Service Unit Award for "superior performance of duty in the performance of an exceptionally difficult task." But an even better reward awaited the men for finishing a job well done: 30 days leave.
Not everyone would be going home. A Post Engineer Company was activated to remain at Lagens Field to provide base maintenance. These men would be permanently leaving the 801st.
On 23 February the battalion boarded the Liberty ship William S. Evarts for the trip back to the States. Although the Evarts did not weigh anchor until the 25th it was still a better trip than they had experienced a year earlier. It was noted that the Evarts was a much cleaner ship than the John Clark. They were veteran sea travelers now, and knew the ropes. There was a great deal less seasickness. The German submarine threat was greatly reduced. And best of all, the men were heading home for a 30 day furlough.