RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- They have spent 10 months deployed in western Afghanistan, and performing Black Hawk helicopter medical evacuation missions. On Sunday, 40 soldiers in the Nevada Army Guard's C Company, 1/168th General Support battalion are finally home.
The unit has now completed five deployment missions since September 11, 2001 and each homecoming is one to remember.
A large crowd of family, friends, and supporters greeted the first group of soldiers returning home at the Reno-Tahoe airport. It’s a moment they've all been looking forward to for a very long time.
"348 days,” says Alyssa Harrison, a military wife. “But no one's counting.” The unit deployed on March 31, 2013.
The reunion with his wife and four children left Lieutenant Nigel Harrison speechless.
"Words can't describe it,” he says. “I've been waiting for this moment a long time."
Instead each tear, smile, hug, and kiss tells the story of a sweet homecoming. Across the board, the soldiers were most excited for one thing: family.
Family is the most precious by far, but Captain Wes Leedy and Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Busboom open up and say the luxuries we all take for granted come second.
“Alcohol may be one of them,” they say, “Electricity, running water, a comfortable bed. No tents that leak on you when you sleep.”
Not everyone in the crowd was reunited with their loved one, but coming out to welcome home the soldiers was important to them, like Paula Flemming of the Blue Star Mothers Truckee Chapter.
"Our sons and daughters are currently serving also. So it's very critical for us to come and welcome home our national guard. As we know, they served right along side some of our children. And we enjoy doing this, and we know the excitement and the pleasure of greeting our own children."
Chief Warrant Officer 2, Joshua Groth, says coming home to the community support makes everything worth while.
"It's overwhelming to see how many people came out for this. I couldn't have asked for anything better. This is absolutely amazing.”
The second group of the 40 soldiers coming home arrived late Sunday.