CALEDONIA, Mich. (WZZM) - About 200 members of a West Michigan National Guard unit are enjoying civilian life again for the first time in months. After a year in Afghanistan soldiers in the 126th Cavalry were welcomed home Friday during a ceremony in Caledonia.
"It's great to finally be back," said returning soldier Alex Kashenider. "It was a long tour. It had to be done and it's just good to be back."
Several were wounded in the war, but all of the soldiers in the 126th Cavalry survived the year in Afghanistan and made it home for the community celebration at Caledonia High School.
"I'm very excited he's home," said Krista Metz, who's husband is a sergeant in the unit. "It's exciting and very emotional."
"I'm ecstatic to be home to see my wife and kids," said Sgt. Steven Metz. "It's my second deployment so I'm glad to be home."
"We are so proud to have all the guys home," said Thomas Griggs, uncle of a returning soldier. "May God bless us all."
Caledonia High School was the host for the welcome home ceremony. Because of security concerns, they only had 48 hours advance notice to make arrangements. Administrators say it's an important learning experience for students.
"Extremely important for our students to see what the soldiers do and the emotions that come out," says high school principal Jim Glazier. "It's a moving moment."