Lincoln, Neb.-- Ten men and women of the Nebraska National Guard came together last January for several weeks of training, before leaving for Afghanistan.
Now, they're back home, sharing hugs and plenty of tears with their families for the first time in months.
Steve Stienike is one of those men, and said being home and seeing his family's faces is a welcome sight.
"You can talk to them on the phone," Stienike said, "or you can, you know, face time or Skype them from time to time. But, it's just not the same thing as seeing them in person."
While overseas, Stienike and his team members were tasked with improving farm land and infrastructure for a country damaged by decades of war. They spent much of their time working with local farmers and government officials.
But, that work is now behind them, and Stienike's family couldn't be happier.
"Relief," Lindsay Stienike, Steve's wife, said. "It's been exhausting without him. It'll be nice to have a break and have someone else to run around the house."
"I miss the most spending time as a big family," Piper Stieneke, Steve's daughter, said.
"You know, the table felt kind of empty, and I felt things just weren't the same."
The soldiers arrived in Lincoln around 1 p.m. Thursday.
A brief return ceremony was held at the Lincoln Air Base around 1:30 p.m., before the families went home for some well-deserved rest.