Family and friends waited with outstretched arms as members of the 185th Aviation Group stepped off a chartered bus Friday in Jackson after a year in Iraq.
Peg Boyd held a yellow sign with her son's name on it.
"I want him to able to find his momma. This is the best Christmas present ever," said Boyd.
Her son, 22-year-old Spc. Nathan Boyd, was one of the 80 soldiers in the Jackson-based Army National Guard unit to return Friday.
About 19 other members of the unit who returned earlier this month were also at the armory in Jackson to welcome them home.
Since deploying to Iraq last year, the brigade led about 3,000 soldiers in 10 battalions, two squadrons and five separate aviation companies collectively known as the Task Force 185th Aviation Group. All 99 members of the Jackson unit made it home safely.
Military and civilian leaders have praised the soldiers for developing innovative programs.
During the deployment, the soldiers' families collected more than $600,000 worth of backpacks and school supplies and shipped them to Iraq with the help of public and private donations. The soldiers distributed the goods.