Thursday afternoon, families and friends alike gathered at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station to welcome home their loved ones from overseas.
Seventy-six New York Army National Guard soldiers, who were assigned to the 2nd Squadron 101st Cavalry, returned home from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization mission, which helped train Ukrainian soldiers.
The New York National Guard soldiers were assigned to the Joint Multinational Training Group- Ukraine, and worked with NATO troops from Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom to assist Ukrainian Army troops training at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center near the City of Livov, Ukraine.
Under the command of Col. Dennis Deeley, the New York National Guard troops helped oversee training for approximately 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers organized into four battalion training groups.
The soldiers deployed from New York to Fort Bliss, Texas, on Oct. 2, 2017, and after a month of training at Fort Bliss, 60 soldiers deployed to the Army's training center on Grafenwoehr, Bavaria, Germany, for training with the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command.
The soldiers flew into Niagara Falls via commercial airliner from New York City, and once on the ground, the troops filed into three separate buses to be driven to their families. As the buses turned the corner, troops were welcomed with an uproar of cheers and waving. Once off the bus, the soldiers formed and were properly dismissed. From there, troops stormed toward loved ones - loved ones that they hadn't seen in 326 days. Hugs, kisses, tears, smiles and love were shared by those awaiting, making it a special return for the soldiers.
Pictured are scenes from the troops return. (All photos by David Yarger)