POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. — A group of Morrisville-based
North Carolina National Guard
soldiers serving in Afghanistan returned home early Tuesday morning.
More than 200 members of the Attack Helicopter Unit arrived at Pope Air Force Base around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday to the cheers of friends and family.
The unit operates the Apache, the Army's primary attack helicopter, and flew 95 percent of missions in Afghanistan during its 12-month deployment.
The group, which was deployed in Jan. 2003, was the first North Carolina National Guard unit activated after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The soldiers were originally scheduled to return home in January.
Officials at Pope Air Force Base say Tuesday's homecoming is the largest since troops were deployed following the attacks.
Many of the soldiers say they are looking forward to a good meal and the comforts of home.