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MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – It was an emotional reunion for families and friends Saturday in Aberdeen, and West Point as troops of the 223rd Engineering Battalion returned home.

“He’s gonna be great and I’m gonna hug him,” said the young son of one of the soldiers.

It was a sea of cheering families at the Aberdeen and West Point National Guards, ready to fill the missing piece in their hearts. The FSC 223rd Engineering Battalion returned home, escorted by the Freedom riders. Family and friends gathered to welcome them home after a year at war. One family waits for a man that is a husband, father and son.

“Happy, somebody’s got a daddy to see,” said Bridget Pigeon, wife of a returning soldier.

“I’m very proud of him and so glad that we get to see him today and just happy,” said mother Mary Hammons.

The troops spent a year of deployment in Afghanistan. 70 members of the 223rd received purple hearts. With banners and waving flags the families of the men and women cheered them in.

“We probably won’t say nothing, we’ll probably bout tackle him to the ground and hug him,” said sister Angel Jones.

The troops proudly marched off the buses ready to be reunited with their loved ones. After the coming home ceremony and an emotional national anthem, dozens of families jumped to kiss and hug the many returning soldiers.

11 soldiers from the West Point 223rd Troop Unit lost their lives while serving overseas.

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