It was the happiest of homecomings for one group of Bay area soldiers Tuesday.
The U.S. Army Reserve's 159th Aviation Regiment, which is based out of Clearwater, returned home from a year of service in Afghanistan.
There were a lot of hugs at the Clearwater-St. Pete airport Tuesday morning as the 126 brave service men and women returned home from a one-year deployment.
It was an emotionally charged return for these families that had gone months since holding their loved ones. The entire company safely arrived home.
The 159th Aviation Regiment is a medivac Blackhawk unit, contributing an amazing amount of service during their year away from home. They transported and treated 1,236 injured for a combined 2,200 flight hours.
"There's no greater feeling, nothing can equate to this," said Spc. Darryl Mosely.
On Tuesday, their mission was finally complete. A packed hangar of family and friends were there to greet them -- happy to finally have their hometown heroes back.
"I was just all smiles because I finally have my husband back. There's no feeling, nothing can equate to this feeling that I have right now," said Kelly Wigley, whose husband was returning.
During their year-long deployment, there was one helicopter accident that sent two of the regiment's soldiers home early, but we're told they're doing fine and will make a full recovery.