Local National Guard soldiers welcomed home

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A welcome home celebration was held Saturday for the New York Army National Guard soldiers who were deployed in Afghanistan. They are part of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry.

170 citizen soldiers took part in the Freedom Salute Ceremony inside the Robert Jorgenson Athletics Center at Mohawk Valley Community College.

The group mobilized a year ago and was able to achieve many things during that yea,- including finding and clearing dozens of IEDs along with helping the Afghan National Security Forces train.

For many National Guard members returning home,it was not their first trip overseas. Captain Joe Minning said, "These are citizen soldiers and they've given up years of their lives. We've been training for two years for this mission and this operation and they did fantastic and wonderful things overseas as soldiers as citizens."

President Obama says U.S. Forces will shift to a support role in the springtime as Afghan soldiers take the lead in defending their country.

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