Saturday, the city of Philadelphia officially welcomed home members of the National Guard's 298th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
The unit returned home in January after serving a year in Afghanistan, but this is the first time the community has had a chance to celebrate. Saturday's homecoming celebration was hosted by the Veterans of Foreign War Posts.
Friends, family, and supporters from all over the community gathered in Philadelphia Saturday afternoon to say thank you to the 78 troops who spent a year away from loved ones in order to tour western Afghanistan.
"Makes my heart swell up with pride to know that the community is behind us," Lt. Col. Lynn Pippen says. "They've shown that from day one."
"And let them know how we appreciate them," Susan Shoffner says. "It's been the only opportunity we've had to do this since they trickled and had their first drill last month in Natchez."
The troops mission was to sustain combat forces, including the United States and coalition forces deployed throughout the year.
"I suppose the toughest thing about any deployment is being away from loved ones," Pippen says. "Being away from life as we typically know it. But during that venture, couldn't have asked for a finer group of people to share it with."