ST. CLOUD -- Around 160 central Minnesota National Guard members were officially welcomed home on Saturday afternoon.

The 851st Vertical Engineer Company held a formal homecoming and reintegration event at River’s Edge Convention Center.

It was the first time the unit had been back together since March when they returned from a nine-month deployment.

Captain Brandon Johnson says gatherings like this one provide support to soldiers as they transition back to life at home.

So when we come back, usually that first month or two, soldiers are kind of getting readjusted and trying to figure stuff out. Then they try to do these reintegration events to provide counselors, financial resources, and people that can let them know what they're eligible for - VA stuff. I think that time allows them to figure out what questions they have and then when they come here they can try to get them answered.

During their deployment, the soldiers completed a variety of construction projects in Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Afghanistan.

The company will be back together again in about a month for another, similar event.

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