Family and friends packed McGhee Tyson Airport this afternoon to welcome home a group of East Tennessee soldiers. With dozens of flags and signs, they gave them a hero's homecoming to remember.
Seven Army Reserve soldiers deployed with the 449th Engineering Company out of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Their home unit is the 702nd out of East Tennessee.
The soldiers spent almost a year away from their families. Nine of those months they conducted route clearance in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan.
For Brittany Winkels and her toddler son, Colton, the past year hasn't been easy.
"Especially when he [Colton] asks where daddy is," Brittany said.
But now their soldier, Lt. Patrick Winkels, will be home for a while. The soldiers do not have another deployment scheduled right now.
"It's incredible," said Brittany.
"We appreciate all the support everyone came out and showed," said Lt. Winkels.
"We are thankful everybody came back safe and sound with only minor injuries. Everybody is back with their families," said SSG Josh Chesson.