18 Utah soldiers return from Afghanistan

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Eighteen Utah soldiers came home, Saturday, after serving in Afghanistan for a year.

Balloons, posters, and plenty of grinning faces—hundreds anxiously stood by and waited, as they watched for the flight to touch down.

"I've had butterflies in my stomach all day.  I haven't eaten a thing all day," said Cindy Hicken, just after her husband arrived.

"I didn't care if there was red tape or whatever... I was breaking through to go give him a hug, because I've waited way too long," explained Wendy Turgen, whose husband also arrived Saturday.

The troops trained Afghan border police during their year-long mission.

“It was very fulfilling for us as a team,” said Thayne Turgen, Chief Warrant Officer 3 for the Utah National Guard.

For some families, the deployment was not the first time they have had to live apart.

"He was in a lot more danger than he was when he was in Iraq,” said Turgen of her husband, “so that was the hardest part for me."

The returning soldiers are celebrating another homecoming today, too.  U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was released by the Taliban, after almost five years of captivity.

"We had pictures of him coming up on the computers in our office, so that everybody would be on the lookout for him.  We were supposed to ask all the Afghans we met, and nobody had any ideas of where he was, so this is the first I've heard about that.  That's great," said Matt Hicken, one of the returning Utahns. 

Some say will dedicate the next few days to simply adjusting to life back home.

"I was nervous as heck coming out here—almost as nervous as going in to Afghanistan," said Turgen.

Family members are happy and say that home is exactly where their soldiers should be. 

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