FORT MCCOY, Wisc. (KAIT) - "It was amazing. All of these people that came here to welcome us. It's just overwhelming," said Specialist Jimmy Collins.
As the final plane of 875th soldiers landed early Monday morning, the celebration of success filled the air. "It was awesome. It was just a great feeling to smell some American air and to be back here in America. It was good," said Specialist Shauta Johnson.
As the soldiers exited the plane it was an endless sea of hugs and welcome homes. Even the mayors of Piggott, Bono, and Jonesboro made the trip to welcome home our local men.
"The emotions just run the gammet all at one time and it's just really good to see them here. It's almost like it's a dream," said Mayor Doug Formon. "It was pretty emotional. I had troubles holding tears back," said Mayor L.M. Duncan.
The fanfare of support was welcomed by this group of soldiers returning from their tour of duty in Iraq.
"They way things are over there, and the way they live...they don't have the freedom we have today. It's really great to be able to go outside your door and not get shot at. It feels really good, and I feel a lot better about living in the United States than I ever have," said Specialist Jerrod Wofford.
As the soldiers exchanged their weapons for life back home, military leaders applauded their efforts. But now with their mission complete, the word freedom takes on a whole new meaning.
"I've seen the way they live. It's just amazing to have that freedom. Now just know what I was missing makes it that much better," said Collins.
"I say freedom is being able to be with your loved ones. Being able to be happy. You can't be happy over there," said Specialist Matthew Bradley.