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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota National Guard’s C Battery, 1st Battalion and 194th Field Artillery Regiment will celebrate their return to Minnesota on Sunday.

“We were in charge of the land-based Phalanx weapons system. Our primary mission was defensive assets of our particular location,” explained 1st Lieutenant Will Hermanson.

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The mission may sound complicated.

“Any indirect fires toward a fob or a base, we would destroy,” stated 1st Platoon Sergeant Dustin Olsen.

But the feeling when the Minnesota National Guard’s C Battery, 1st Battalion and 194th Field Artillery Regiment returned from Afghanistan and Iraq this summer, is one we can all empathize with.

“The tears are flowing, the hugs are happening, we saw kids running,” said Hermanson.

The welcome back continued formally Sunday in Alexandria.

“Coming home and see it culminate into one event like this it’s really heartwarming to see,” said C Battery Commander Capt. Tom Bowers. “This is why we’re in the military, this is why we serve.”

Sgt. Olsen came back from deployment and met his six-month-old son Everett for the first time.

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“A lot of joy. You can do FaceTime videos and all that stuff but it only does so much,” said Olsen. “Having that first touch with him and my wife, very special to me.”

Many National guardsmen and women got back Sunday and started a new part of their lives.

“Reintegration with the family for me has been positive,” said Olsen.

At Sunday’s ceremony, a reminder was made for those who need to reach out for help adjusting back into civilian life.

“Part of being a soldier, part of being part of this team here is understanding when you’re under that stress and that you need help,” said Command Sergeant Major George Jenson.

An important day for those who serve.

“It’s something that veterans historically haven’t always had, so it’s really humbling to be a part of it,” said Olsen.

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