After 9 months away, National Guard returns home to New Jersey

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Kristin Thorne is in Jersey City with the story. (WABC)

There was a happy homecoming for 160 members of the National Guard on Thursday.

Most of them are from New Jersey and are arriving back on home turf after nine months in the Persian Gulf.

They're just in time for the Fourth of July and then some.

It is stories like these that give a special meaning to the phrase "tears of joy".

"It's good to have him back," a family member said.

"I've been waiting nine long months for this and it's finally here," said Shavon Whyte, 2-113th Infantry Battalion.

These 160 Army National Guard soldiers have spent the last nine months far away from their families supporting military operations in the Persian Gulf.

One of those soldiers was Andrea Ruiz's fiancee.

"Just have lot of emotions coming up. Trying to keep it together," said Andrea Ruiz, a soldier's fiancee.

But finally they were all together, reunited at the National Guard Armory in Jersey City Thursday afternoon.

"He's got a little bigger over there so I got to catch up," a family member said.

"It feels good, it feels good every time and it gets better and better. It's number four for me," said Carlos Pena, 2-113th Infantry Battalion.

And after one last military drill, they were free to go home.

"It feels really good to be back with my family," said Joscan Mairena, 2-113th Infantry Battalion.

We're glad to have you back too.
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