Thousands of people filled Rupp Arena Sunday afternoon to welcome home soldiers from the war zone. Most of the National Guard troops were with the First Battalion, 149th Infantry, also known as the Mountain Warriors. We have extended coverage of their emotional homecoming celebration.
It is the largest homecoming weekend ever for the Kentucky National Guard. Around 600 guardsmen were honored with thousands of loved ones in the stands at Rupp Arena to show their support.
"We left our home, our friends, our families in order to serve a great cause, something bigger than us," said LTC John Luttrell, Commander of the 1-149th Infantry.
"It's fitting that the first of the 149th the Mountain Warriors and the 2123rd would come home on Sunday to the great Commonwealth," Major General Donald Storm, Adjutant General of Kentucky.
"When the Commonwealth and when the nation looked for a help, they looked to the hills and to the mountains of Kentucky and they looked in the right place and they got the help they called upon," said Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher.
"It's not just the sacrifice and service of you soldiers that we're glad for, it's also the sacrifice of these families, these wives, husbands, children, parents," said Representative Hal Rogers.
"May God be with you the rest of your days. I love all of you, Mountain Warriors," Luttrell said.