185 soldiers reunited with families in the first homecoming - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

185 soldiers reunited with families in the first homecoming ceremonies


There was cheering, tears and plenty of hugs as the first groups of Iowa Army National Guard soldiers were reunited with their families after almost a year of deployment to Afghanistan.

Doors opened at Prairie Point Middle School in Cedar Rapids around 10:30 a.m., with family and friends filling the gymnasium, holding signs and waiting expectantly for their soldiers.

Homecoming ceremonies were held Thursday for about 185 returning soldiers of the total 2,900 that were deployed to Afghanistan last year.

Around 50 soldiers returned in Cedar Rapids.  Another 50 returned in Johnston, and 85 returned to their families in Boone.

Delays added to the anticipation. The Cedar Rapids ceremony was scheduled to start at 11:30, but didn't begin until about 12:45 p.m. The homecoming in Johnston was originally scheduled for 12:30 p.m., and didn't begin until about 1:45 p.m.

The Thursday homecomings are the first of about 30 that will take place over the next few weeks.  

The Iowa National Guard has officially announced a community homecoming ceremony will be held for 105 soldiers at the UNI Dome at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Details about the remaining homecoming ceremonies have not yet been made available to the media.

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