INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – It was an exciting morning for more than 100 Minnesota military families Tuesday as they gave some returning soldiers a very happy homecoming.

Some got up as early as 1 a.m. to welcome home their loved ones returning after a nine month deployment to Afghanistan. The Minnesota National Guard had members in Afghanistan dedicating their services to our Armed Forces.

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Families waited anxiously for the troops to arrive Tuesday morning to their welcoming spot at the National Guard Armory in Inver Grove Heights. And once they were released from duty and found their families, there were several smiles, tears and emotional reunions.

The 114th Transportation Company of the Minnesota National Guard spent nine months in Afghanistan as forces moved equipment to close bases. There were no combat casualties in this mission.

Maggie Koester had one of the more interesting and emotional stories of the morning. She had just gotten married to her husband and three weeks later, he was deployed to Afghanistan for the mission. He’s back just in time for their one-year anniversary on Sept. 26.

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“We’re looking forward to that. It’s been an interesting first year of marriage without him,” she said.

It’s not the most ideal of situations for a newly-married couple, but she said a great family and support system helped her get through the difficult times.

“A lot of family and friends having me over, spending time with them in their homes. It’s amazing the outreach you get when you go through something like this,” Koester said.

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Minnesota National Guard Members Welcomed Home