FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- It was an emotional night on Fort Bragg as hundreds of soldiers returned home Tuesday evening.
The troops have been in Europe supporting NATO allies after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
While those members of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade returned to open arms, the readiness to respond to NATO allies - wasn't far from their minds.
The troops had been gone since February after quickly deploying to assist with the effort in Ukraine.
"We did it within 72 hours and immediately went on the ground and spent the last eight months there to help our allies and to help deter Russian aggression," said Maj. Gabe Dearman.
That aggression has ramped up in the past few days after suicide drone strikes hit Ukrainian cities including Kyiv, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries.
"It's just our ability to be over there and to train and sustain and continue to be ready while deployed," Dearman said. "It just speaks volumes of the capability of our organization."
And as the near 150 soldiers finally made it back to be reunited with family, it's a reminder to everyone of the importance of their mission -- and how fortunate they are to be back home.