After an 11-month tour of duty in Kuwait, over 200 soldiers with the Alabama National Guard returned home to Birmingham Saturday to a warm greeting from relieved families and friends.
The 240 returning soldiers are with the 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, which hails from the Sumter Smith Air National Guard Base. The guardsmen were excited to come home after deploying in January to continue the efforts of Operation Enduring Freedom.
After nearly a year away from their loved ones, the soldiers were grateful to make it back in time for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
"We were hoping to get home before Thanksgiving and we ended up getting to do that," Sgt. Major Mike Oakley said. "This is such a pleasure for us. When you're away you're focused so much on your mission and everyday your family misses you. They got the hard part, we got the easy part."