There were tears, laughter and hugs all around as family and friends greeted their loved ones who have been deployed in Iraq.
Jessica Inostros reunited with her husband Anthony, with their 15-month-old daughter in tow. The couple said they looked forward to spending quality family time now that he's back home.
Nearly 500 soldiers of the 640th Aviation Support Battalion returned home, touching down at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield. Thursday's homecoming marks the single largest return of California National Guard Troops since President Barack Obama's October announcement of the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq before the end of the year.
For the past year in Iraq, the 640th Aviation Support Battalion was assigned to maintenance, fueling and logistics for 250 helicopters.
"We were based out of Taji for the most part, which is just north of Baghdad, and we didn't know whether we were going to be replaced in theater or not because last-minute changes kept coming," said Cmdr. Lou Carmona. "At the end of the day, the decision was made to come home, and here we are."
The battalion also helped train the Iraqi army.