The soldiers returned to a hero's welcome in Windsor Locks on Monday. The members of the 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry served a one-year tour in Afghanistan and are the last of 600 from their unit to return home. The others arrived last week.
As they walked off their plane, Gov. M. Jodi Rell and an anxious crowd of family and friends greeted them.
"I'm very excited to be home again," Staff Sgt. Daniel Adams of Milford said. "This was my second deployment and it was very nice to see everyone here to support us and welcome us home."
Adams' niece, Katelynn Sobocinski, was among the relatives waiting for him.
"He's been around my whole life and I depended on him for a lot and then when he wasn't here, it was just really hard," Sobocinski said.
During their tour in Afghanistan, the unit lost one of its members. Staff Sgt. Edwin Rivera was killed by enemy fire in May.
As they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones, Rivera's fellow soldiers said they'll be thinking him and all the others who did not make it back.
"I'm going to raise a glass to our fellow soldiers who are not going to be able to have a Thanksgiving. My heart goes out to their families," said Joseph Paoli, a soldier from New Milford.