PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Several families in Arizona are soaking in togetherness after almost a year of being apart. A group of National Guard soldiers returned home from Afghanistan to Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix Saturday.

“Happy to be home. Great to be back,” returned soldier Marissa Celaya said.

[WATCH: AZ families reunite with National Guard soldiers coming from Afghanistan]

The 856th Military Police Company was a little bit late arriving, but when they finally showed up, they kept the dismissal ceremony short and sweet.

“The road these soldiers have walked, and will continue to walk beyond today, could not be possible without the support of their families, friends, and employers,” they heard before their detachment was officially dismissed.

“It’s amazing. So happy to have her back,” Carla Parrack said of her newly-returned daughter Nicole.

After almost a year in Afghanistan some of these Arizonans forgot what it was like in our desert.

 “Actually, where we were at it was quite a bit cooler. We had a higher elevation. So it was actually kind of nice. It’s pretty hot here!” Nicole said.

Now many of the soldiers say they have a second family, the soldiers they bonded with overseas.

“It’s been a lot of intense training. Good troops to take down range with. They completed their mission successfully. A lot of good time with a lot of good people,” soldier Jackson Dienert said.

These 30 American heroes are home just in time for the 4th of July holiday.


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