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Pierce City's 276th engineer company returns safely to the Four - KOAM TV 7

Pierce City's 276th engineer company returns safely to the Four States

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A warm welcome for National Guard troops back home safe from Afghanistan

"It's great to be home, it's very good to see friends and family again," said Sergeant Tim Uptegrave. 

His daughter says she missed her daddy's hugs the most

"He's better than a stuffed animal, basically."

More than 150 troops landed in Joplin and were taken by bus to friends and family anxiously waiting for them in Monett, with a veteran's motorcade following behind.  

On a deconstruction mission,the troops shut down six bases and handed them over to the Afghan people.  

"It's imperative that we close down things properly and clean up as we go so that you know all the troops and everybody can leave," said Uptegrave.

Governor Jay Nixon commended the troops for a job well done.

"I congratulate you on this mission. You protect innocent lives and make America and the world safe. Missouri is proud of you and we join your family in saying prayers and thanks for your safe return."

Major General Steve Danner reminded families their soldier's mission isn't over until they complete the reintegration process...

"So can I have your assurance that you're going to make sure your soldier finishes the mission," said Danner.

For many of the troops it was their first deployment. After about nine months away from home they are eager to be reunited with family.

"I thought I knew what it was going to be like coming home and the whole time I'd worried that she may not recognize me when I got home, but I heard her yelling in the stands daddy, so it was perfect."

There was also a first sighting of another little one for one father.

"It feels great, it's been a long time. I haven't seen her yet so it's great," said officer Seth McKinney.

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