SALINA — About 170 soldiers of the Kansas National Guard's 226th Engineer Company were welcomed home from Afghanistan in a brief ceremony Thursday, just in time for Christmas, said Sharon Watson, public affairs director for the Kansas Adjutant General's Department.
The ceremony began around noon, but was subject to change early Thursday depending on the troops' arrival time, which was still fluctuating, said Watson
The ceremony was in Hangar No. 600 at the Municipal Airport in Salina.
The unit, headquartered in Augusta and augmented by soldiers from the 891st Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Iola, deployed in December 2009 for a yearlong mission.
"This is the best Christmas present we could ever give the families of these fine soldiers," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the adjutant general. "They did a superb job in Afghanistan, and now they deserve some quality family time."
While in Afghanistan, the soldiers constructed, repaired and maintained vertical infrastructure, including base camps and facilities, for other units deployed to that nation.