Sen. Kay Hagan was on hand to welcome home Fort Bragg soldiers as they arrived home from a relief mission in quake-devastated Haiti Saturday.
More than 700 members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division flew into Pope Air Force base this weekend.
"Today, our heroes returned home to their families after saving lives," Hagan said in a statement. "It was my honor to shake their hands and thank them for their service."
Paratroopers arrived in Haiti Jan. 17, five days after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the poverty-stricken country.
Over more than 40 days, they performed about 650 humanitarian missions, primarily in the densely populated Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. They manned two food distribution points, and medical personnel treated more than 7,000 patients.
They distributed more than 250,000 liters of water, 345,000 meals and 12,000 tarps for shelter, along with helping the World Food Program distribute 3.5 million rations.