More than 100 National Guard Soldiers of the 27th Infantry arrived at the Thompson Road Armory Monday night.
Most of the soldiers had been stationed in Kuwait, performing logistics, administrative and security missions. Several of the soldiers had not seen their families since they departed in February. For the soldiers and their families, coming home on Christmas Eve was nothing short of a thrill.
"Everybody's been going through a rough time and that type of stuff, so coming back home, etc., it feels good," Justin Baldessare, who served in Kuwait, says. "It feels good to see my mom."
Many who welcomed soldiers home said they could not think of a better Christmas gift.
"He loves Christmas," Amy Benedict, describing her fiancee Ryan Campbell, says. "So, I'm really excited to have him home, and we can do presents, and the tree and have the dinner and everything."
The troops said they were not always certain they would make it home in time for Christmas. They were initially told they would not make it back until January. But, when they were told Christmas was a possibility, they did everything they could to make it back as soon as possible.
"Morale was good," Ryan Campbell says. "Because everyone just kept saying, alright let's get there, let's not have any screw ups, let's just get right through it, let's not do anything dumb, and let's just get home."