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Story by Spc. William E. Henry, Indiana Army National Guard

Photos by Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry, Indiana National Guard

Stephanie Golder hugs her husband, Indiana Army National Guard Sgt. Ray Golder, Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at the 38th Infantry Division Armory. Golder is truck driver with Company F, 151st Infantry, which returned from a year-long deployment in southwest Asia in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

INDIANAPOLIS—Hundreds of loved ones welcomed home about 160 National Guard Soldiers with open arms at the 38th Infantry Division Armory in Indianapolis, April 30.

After a year of mobilization, Soldiers and families of Company F, 151st Infantry, were once again united.

Phillip Clouser, father of Spc. Brian Clouser, was on hand to see his son return to the States, and spoke of how proud he was of his son.

“The best thing is that he’s coming home safe. Every one of them is a hero in my eyes,” Clouser added.

While families and friends patiently waited for their Soldiers, a special guest, Vitor Meira, Indy Car driver of the National Guard car, stopped by to extend his gratitude to the families of the troops and signed autographs while they waited for the arrival.

When three knocks hit the overhead door of the drill floor it was time to see the Soldiers. They marched in with roaring cheers from the seats and banners waving.

The cheering wasn’t just done on the drill floor; the Soldiers did some cheering of their own.

“When the pilot announced we were in American airspace, the whole plane erupted into cheers,” said Sgt. Daniel Costello, Armored Security Vehicle truck commander.

While deployed, the company had the mission of convoy security, escorting transports of food and goods around their area of operation, Camp Liberty, Baghdad, Costello continued.

To keep those vehicles running for the missions it takes mechanics like Pvt. Adam Artist, who said he took pride in his work while in Iraq.

“There’s nothing better than being home, but I’m glad I did do what I could to help the guys out on their missions,” said Artist.

The Soldiers will go through demobilization training at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center.