FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- More than 200 Fort Riley soldiers are back home with their loved ones as another wave of troops returned from Afghanistan.
Members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, were welcomed home in a ceremony Tuesday at Fort Riley.
Approximately 240 Soldiers were reunited with friends and family following a nine-month deployment.
Three thousand 4th Brigade soldiers joined the 1st Infantry Division’s headquarters in Eastern Afghanistan in April where the "Big Red One" was tasked with leading a regional command. They took charge of military operations in an area roughly the size of Virginia.
Operating as Combined Joint Task Force-1, the 1st Infantry Division has commanded and controlled operations throughout RC-East which includes 14 provinces, 7.5 million Afghans and 450 km of a mountainous Pakistan border.
It was the brigade’s third deployment since it was activated at Fort Riley in 2006. The soldiers did two rotations to Iraq but it was their first deployment to Afghanistan. The brigade’s mission was to enable Afghanistan’s government, security forces and economy to operate more independently.
For little Mackenzie Myrick and her family, the homecoming ceremony was a milestone event.
"She was born July 7th so she’s six months old, almost seven months and meeting daddy for the first time ever. We’ve Skyped and sent pictures but he’ll actually get to hold her for the first time," said her mother, Jessica.
Soldiers quickly rushed into the arms of their loved ones and the Myricks found each other in the crowd.
"I’m looking forward to making up for lost time and just spending time with my kids," Mackenzie's dad, Specialist Taylor Myrick, said.
With the job done, the troops can enjoy being with those they've missed.
"It’s pretty awesome. I haven’t seen these guys in a while so it’s pretty cool. I have everyone here that’s important to me so it’s pretty nice," said Sgt. Michael Moret, who was surrounded by his wife and two sons.
Also there to welcome troops home were members of the Kansas City Royals caravan who thanked the soldiers and their families for their service and sacrifices.
"It’s neat to be a part of this. These are real life heroes and just to be able to support them and see this, is a real unique experience," said Jeremy Guthrie, pitcher for the Royals.
The remaining 4th Brigade soldiers will continue to return to Fort Riley throughout the upcoming weeks.
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