SACRAMENTO -- A group of soldiers landed in Sacramento Thursday to reunite with their families after a deployment in Afghanistan.
It has been nine months since Matt Olive has been waiting for a hug from his son. Tanner Olive has been deployed in Afghanistan since June of 2018, leaving an empty seat at the Christmas table.
"It's kind of surreal. It didn’t seem real until we said goodbye to him and he left," Matt Olive said. "And now it seems surreal that he’s home and it's been nine months. But we’re proud of him because he's doing what he loves."
Now his family finally has their soldier back home.
"It’s been a long nine months. Emotions hit you more than you thought they would," said Tanner Olive's mother, Jenny.
Tanner Olive was one of a handful of California National Guardsmen and members of the 40th Infantry Division returning home to Northern California.
"It was good," said Tanner Sotelo. "I’m glad I went and it was definitely life-changing."
They were happy to see some familiar faces after months of important work overseas.
"Working every day with the Afghan National Army, face to face," Sotelo said.
As the soldiers enjoyed their heartwarming reunion with their families, they were thinking about their brothers and sisters who are still deployed. They are asking the public to remember them as they continue their sacrifice abroad.
"It’s definitely still going on over there and it shouldn’t be forgotten about," U.S. Army Maj. John Allen. "Too many people have lost their lives, quite frankly, over there and we made some progress. So we can’t lose sight of that, as this thing hopefully concludes at some point soon."
Around 100 troops with the California National Guard will return home this week after their nine-month mission overseas.
This marked the first combat mission for California's 40th Infantry since the Korean War.