Dec 20, 2015 8:03 PM

National Guardsmen are welcomed home just in time for Christmas

MANCHESTER- Family and friends of more than 115 soldiers waited patiently at the Manchester Armory as their loved ones returned home just days before Christmas.

"I had no idea at all until a couple days ago, he kept a good secret and it's the best Christmas surprise ever," Michelle Litchfield said as she waited for her son's return.

Completing a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, the New Hampshire National Guardsmen were called in to support operation Spartan Shield which is an ongoing U.S. Army training mission with allied nations. This makes them the first National Guard Field Artillary Battalion to support this operation.

"She's really excited to meet her nephew...I'm gonna start crying," Sarah Flowers said as she held her new baby.

With a total of 370 soldiers deployed last February from New Hampshire, the rest of the battalion is expected home around the New Year.

"I'm just happy to be back on American soil again...It feels so good to be back in New Hampshire," one soldier stated.

Another Guardsmen said, "It feels great. I can't wait to spend time with family and friends and get caught up with everybody and their lives. It's just an amazing experience."

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