Fort Bragg soldiers receive Labor Day welcome home ceremony
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FORT BRAGG — It was an Airborne all the way Labor Day for soldiers returning to Fort Bragg on Monday.
Family and friends welcomed home 300 of the 82nd Division's paratroopers on Monday after a year-long deployment to southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The soldiers were joined in celebration and led off of the plane by the 82nd's Golden Brigade from Vietnam, who never received a proper welcome home.
Those soldiers say after never getting a proper welcome home 44 years ago, leading in Monday evening's returning troops was an honor.
"Let me tell you something, this is the greatest thing in the world. Being back in Fort Bragg in the 82nd, I mean I'd join tomorrow, I'd jump out of airplanes, I'd do whatever they would let me," said Command Sgt. Maj. Claud Dunn.
The newly returned troops will get 24 hours off to finally spend some time with loved ones before returning to Fort Bragg for duty on Wednesday.
“First thing I'm going to do? Just go home and spend time with my family. It's been a long time coming," said Private First Class Matthew Payne.
Several thousand 82nd Airbourne Division soldiers remain remain in Afghanistan, but all of the soldiers are expected to be home by the end of the September.