Soldiers return to Upstate after year of deployment - FOX Carolina 21

Soldiers return to Upstate after year of deployment

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Soldiers return to Union County. (June 4, 2013/FOX Carolina) Soldiers return to Union County. (June 4, 2013/FOX Carolina)
Family and friends eagerly hugged the soldiers upon their return home. (June 4, 2013/FOX Carolina) Family and friends eagerly hugged the soldiers upon their return home. (June 4, 2013/FOX Carolina)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Family, friends and supporters turned out to welcome South Carolina National Guard troops returning home after being gone a year.

More than 400 soldiers from the South Carolina National Guard's 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade were mobilized in May 2012.  They trained at Camp Atterbury, IN, and then were deployed to Kosovo in August 2012.

On Tuesday, homecoming ceremonies will be held in four parts of the state. Two of those ceremonies are in the Upstate, in Cherokee and Union counties.

One Upstate ceremony welcomed home the soldiers of Bravo Company, 1-118th Infantry Regiment at 410 Hampshire Drive, Gaffney, SC.  The second Upstate ceremony welcomed the soldiers of HHC, 1-118th Infantry Regiment at 165 Industrial Park Road, Union, SC.  Both ceremonies were at 10 a.m.

Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller had his deputies escort three busloads of soldiers from the state line to the armory on Hampshire Drive in Gaffney. 

Deputies started the escort by meeting the buses at the welcome center on Interstate 26 in Spartanburg County. They took I-26 to I-85 to exit 92 and then took a right on Floyd Baker Boulevard.  They hen turned left on Beltline Road, followed by a left on Highway 150 and then a right on Hampshire Drive. They were scheduled to arrive at the Armory at 10 a.m.

Mueller said he would like to see people lining the streets to show support.  He estimated the buses would come through town between 9:30 a.m. and 9:50 a.m.

Union County Sheriff David Taylor also wanted people lining the streets of Union County in support of the troops by 9 a.m. His deputies escorted the unit along 215 from McDonald's to the armory on Industrial Park Road. 

Following their return home, a soldier from the Gaffney unit surprised his daughter at her school in Clinton on Tuesday.

Jason Sellars surprised his daughter, who is in kindergarten, while the class was playing a game to figure out what is different in the room. When it was her turn to leave the room, she returned to find her father sitting amongst her classmates. Watch the heartwarming reunion here.

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