NORMAN — More than 100 members of the Oklahoma National Guard returned to Norman on Saturday after 10 months in Afghanistan.
The guardsmen are members of the 1245th Transportation Company, based in McAlester.
The soldiers had been providing supplies to U.S. military operations in war-torn Afghanistan, as well as security for themselves and civilian contractors working in the region.
About 1,000 family members, loved ones and friends greeted the soldiers, many of them holding elaborate homemade signs.
Many soldiers were reunited with sons and daughters they had never seen in person before. One young woman leapt into her boyfriend's arms right after the soldiers were dismissed, nearly knocking him over.
Tears, like the rain outside, flowed freely in the reception room at the sprawling Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman.
Guardsmen Joshua Baker, 26, was nearly speechless as he held his infant daughter, Mikayla, for the first time. When asked what the hardest part of serving 10 months overseas, the soldier had a simple answer.
“Just missing all the moments with her,” he said of his 6-month-old daughter.
Soldier Juston Hatfield, of Tishomingo, was greeted by his son, Devon, 4, as the company made its way inside. Hatfield, 32, never broke stride, picking the boy and carrying him into the formation.