Family and friends welcomed home members of the Michigan National Guard Thursday during a ceremony at Owosso High School.
The 150 soldiers--who are part of the Owosso-based 144th Military Police Company--returned home after a nine month deployment in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Nathan Johnson was returning from his second deployment to his wife and four kids, his youngest son is just two months old.
"It's nice to finally get to see him," he said. "I got to see him a lot on Skype but that obviously doesn't compare... he's a lot bigger than I thought he'd be."
Their duties overseas ranged from base security to mentoring Afghan police.
"It's not real almost, it's just great to be back," said Sgt. Isaiah Alexander of Lansing who was returning from his first deployment while reflecting on his work overseas.
"There's a lot of people there that were very supportive of us," Alexander said. "I mean we've been there about 12 years now, so they know and understand us being over there to support and help them in any way we can."
Whether they'd been deployed multiple times or not, all of them were grateful to know the mission in Afghanistan is winding down.
"It's a big sigh of relief, we need to be home for sure," said Sgt. Johanna Gomez.
"For us to be over there for as long as we have been, to me it's just already done so I'm just glad we're coming back home," Alexander said.
Eleven soldiers from the brigade were awarded the bronze star, one was awarded the purple heart. All of the soldiers in the unit returned home alive.