A joyous homecoming is in sight for a group of local soldiers.
On Sunday, Jan. 11, Thomson will welcome home the National Guard Unit Battery B, 1/214th Field Artillery at a celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on Main Street in Thomson.
The community turnout for their return looks to be even larger than it was for their departure. And that is of great importance to the soldiers, according to Sgt. Johnny G. Hearst.
"This means a whole lot," he said. "When they left to go, the community really turned out on a send off. So with them coming home, it will make them feel even more important...if they have one equal or greater for coming home, that means more to them than anything."
The unit has been deployed for the last 10 months, and even though they will return on Saturday, they will not report back to Thomson until Sunday.
The group of about 75 soldiers was mobilized on March 15, 2003 and left for Ft. Campbell on March 20. While there, the unit received training and supported Operation Enduring Freedom until June 20.
After the group's stint at Ft. Campbell, they were moved to Ft. Bragg where they were assigned homeland security duty.