INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Cheers and tears filled Stout Field on Tuesday night as around 70 Indiana soldiers returned home to their families and friends.
The Indiana National Guard 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team has been in Afghanistan for about nine months, where they worked to enable Afghan national forces to lead security operations in their own country.
We caught up with a couple of soldiers at the homecoming, including a mother who was reunited with her soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter.
While Staff Sgt. Erin Emminger served her country, her daughter Anna stayed behind with grandpa and grandma.
It was a long deployment for Anna, and when she spotted her mom, she wouldn't let go.
"I'm home in time for her birthday too, and it's been the hardest thing I've ever done, is be away from her," Emminger said.
Her father, Rick Parker is a former Marine and expressed his pride at the homecoming ceremony.
"It's a tough job over there," he said. "She went and did it, and I couldn't be more proud of her."
Families carried signs, some dressed in matching shirts to show their love.
Lt. Patrick Glancy was greeted by his 14 year old dog, Jack.
"I guess he and I have been pretty close over the years, and I know he's missed me," Glancy said. " … I'm just really happy to have him here."
The soldiers will report to Camp Atterbury for demobilization training and will be back with their families in time for Christmas.
UPDATE 10:45 P.M.: Many Indiana State Police dispatches were reporting accidents on major roads due to slick weather conditions Sunday night.
With some of the coldest nights of the season on the way, shelters are preparing for a rush of people trying to stay warm.
Christmas is just over two weeks away, but it came early for some very special kids in Hancock County.