While more than 120 soldiers were deployed last year to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, only about 17 soldiers stepped off the bus at the armory. The reason for the small number was that most had caught rides from family members during their last day of active duty.
The full company arrived at the Volunteer Training Site at Smyrna at 9:10 a.m. Thursday, where they were greeted by unit leaders and family members. After final administrative matters were completed, some of the soldiers and family left in their own vehicles.
The remaining Elizabethton and Mountain City soldiers then boarded a bus and headed east. There was a scheduled stop in Knoxville where some more of the soldiers met up with family and headed home with them.
That left a half-empty bus to take the remaining soldiers to the armory. While the remaining numbers were few, they received a warm welcome home.
The soldiers are returning from an 11-month mobilization. They performed vehicle maintenance at various camps throughout the Middle East, supporting other units in more complex upkeep and repairs.
"I'm proud to have our soldiers return home from such a well-done job overseas," said Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee's adjutant general. "They represented everything good about the Tennessee National Guard while deployed and embodied the Volunteer tradition."