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Troops returning
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Two groups of redeploying soldiers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, were welcomed home Wednesday and early Thursday.
The post’s Public Affairs Office reported that more than 500 1st BCT soldiers have redeployed. That includes an advance team that arrived earlier this month.
During the first ceremony Wednesday, more than 200 soldiers were greeted by 800 friends and family members on Cottrell Field.  The soldiers served a 15-month deployment in the Al Anbar province under a Marine two-star command.
Col. Todd Buchs, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander, praised the 1st BCT soldiers for a job well done and their service in Iraq.
"You achieved great results in Al Anbar, creating a model for the rest of Iraq to follow, squelching the rampant violence there, and making it a more peaceful province," Buchs said.  "You truly have every right to be proud of what you have done for the people of Iraq and the United States."
Buchs also thanked the families for their support of their 1st BCT soldiers.
"Because of them, you were able to exceed all expectations," he said.
Following Buchs' welcome and singing the national anthem, the “Marne Song” and the “Army Song,” the family members and friends rushed from the parade field's reviewing stands to greet their soldiers
The early Thursday ceremony was originally scheduled to be late Wednesday, but the hour and chilly spring weather didn't keep friends and family from giving a warm welcome home to the second wave of soldiers returning from the unit’s third deployment from Iraq.
More than 300 1st BCT soldiers were greeted by 900 friends and family members during the ceremony on Cottrell Field shortly after midnight.
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