Army National Guard Soldiers Return Home

About 120 Mississippi Army National Guard soldiers returned home Friday and will be welcomed with hometown celebrations this weekend.

The soldiers are from the 1st Battalion, 204th Air Defense Artillery unit in Newton. They were scheduled to arrive at the Air National Guard Base at Thompson Field in Jackson.

Homecoming celebrations are set for Saturday in Newton, Morton, Forest and Bay Springs.

In April 2003, soldiers in the unit left for mobilization as part of the homeland defense mission in the continental United States.

While at Fort Bliss, Texas, the soldiers trained on the new Avenger Missile Defense System before deploying to the Washington area to replace an active-duty air defense battalion.

The mission of the Air Defense Artillery is to defend against low-altitude aircraft.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)