18th Airborne returns after year fighting ISIS

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The long, grueling fight is finally over for the 18th Airborne Corps. The last wave of paratroopers returned home Wednesday evening at Fort Bragg.

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About 40 soldiers returned.

"It feels great," said Command Sgt. Maj. Diedre Nevels. "It's been a long 13 months."

Col. Scott Lamorides told ABC11 all he could think about on the 17-hour flight home from Kuwait was having a hot meal surrounded by his family.

"These guys have been great back here just making sure everything stays normal," Lamorides said.

Erin Hopkins said her husband's tour has been tough. Communication has been very limited, and she has only been able to speak with her husband once a week for maybe 20 minutes.

"Now we can finally catch up on all the conversations that we haven't been able to have," Hopkins said.

The 18th Airborne has been in ISIS territory for more than a year. Paratroopers helped partner forces liberate areas in Syria and Iraq.

The Corps has been under the command of Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend and he said paratroopers should be very proud.

"Our partners there took back the largest population center held by ISIS anywhere in the planet," Townsend said. "It takes each rotation to do their part. It's like a relay race. We ran our leg and we ran it hard and we ran it well and we put a whole dent in ISIS."

Everyone from the division who went to the Middle East made it back safely.
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