It was a happy homecoming just in time for the holidays. Friends, family and military veterans were at the Oakland airport to give the soldiers a warm welcome home.
Eight soldiers with the California National Guard's 870th Military Police Company arrived on Sunday around 4 p.m. They are based in Pittsburg and had been serving in Afghanistan since February.
Their job was to provide security at U.S. bases, and training and mentoring Afghan police officers. For many, this was their third or even fourth deployment. Several are returning back to their young children whom they have not seen since their two week R&R leave back in June.
"She talks a lot, she understands me more so that's kind of weird. She was smaller, now she looks like a little princess," said Roger Estrada.
"My legs are shaking right now. It didn't hit me until now. It's definitely a lot of fresher air out here right now. You can just tell the difference, it's California," said Sgt. Armida Salazar. When asked what she was looking forward to, she said, "I can't even... I don't even know where to start. I want to eat.I want eat Chinese food that's for sure."
These soldiers plan to go back to their full-time civilian jobs. As for their military responsibilities, which consists of one weekend a month when they're back home, they won't have to report for that until 90 days from now.
More arrivals will be happening throughout evening.