FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — It was the moment hundreds of Fort Drum families had been waiting for.

Gathered in Fort Drum’s McGrath gym on December 12, families and friends prepared to welcome home soldiers serving with the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team’s Task Force Warrior.

The team of over two hundred soldiers was deployed in April 2022 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in the Middle East. During deployment, soldiers completed security operations at 14 different locations across Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Kuwait.

For some soldiers, this was their first deployment overseas, including Sergeant Kevin Duran, whose wife Pheobe waited in anticipation.

“This is my first deployment and his first deployment as well,” Duran shared. “We’re so excited. We’re going to go home and see both our families. They’re so excited.”

Other families, such as the Brown’s from Savannah Georgia, traveled across the country to welcome home their soldiers just in time for the holidays.

“This is my present,” Lori Brown, mother of Colin Brown, said. “I’ve been waiting for this day and he’s my youngest of two boys. We’re a really close family and for him to come home for the holidays and come home early and come home sage, it means the world.”

As 1BCT soldiers marched in, 10th Mountain Division Commanding General Major General Gregory Anderson explained more and shared his pride.

“They came back from a very, very difficult mission in the Middle East,” MG Anderson shared. “Holding the line for us in many sports in Syria and Iraq. These warriors performed magnificently. We’re just glad to have you back.”

Soldiers were released, and in an instant, were reunited with their families once again.

“It doesn’t feel real right now,” Duran shared following the ceremony.

“We were expecting to not be back for a while longer,” Sgt. Duran added. “So it’s amazing. It’s like a dream come true.