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Dec 10, 2011 11:12 PM by Maddie Garrett

4,000 Fort Polk Soldiers Home for the Holidays

Just in time for the holidays was a homecoming for soldiers based out of Fort Polk. In all, about 4-thousand soldiers were welcomed home today from Afghanistan, and quite the party was thrown in their honor.

Since September, they've been returning home in the hundreds. And finally, all of the men and women of the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division are home. All but 24 who lost their lives in service.

"They've had an entire year in combat, they had a tough mission... They lost 24 soldiers, over 400 wounded, so they have paid a heavy sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy," said Major General Mark Milley, Commander of the 10th Mountain Division.

On Saturday they stood in formation one last time before moving on to other assignments here at home. To mark the occasion, a change of command ceremony was held.

"It's a great day to be a soldier and it's great day to be a soldier here at Fort Polk. It's exciting to see the soldiers come back but it's important to see the recognition and the support of the community," said Colonel Mario Diaz.

And with almost 4,000 soldiers attending the ceremony and marching in a parade parade, it's a site that hasn't been seen since World War Two.

"Just came to see the parade, it doesn't happen very often that you get to see all the troops parade and welcome them home. As of today I hear all of our troops are home so it's kind of a neat thing," said David Haymon of Leesville.

With cheers and chants, it seemed everyone in the small town Leesville came out to send a message of thanks and welcome home.

"So what we saw was a complete and very genuine outpouring of not only patriotism but of love and support for the soldiers of the 4th brigade 10th mountain and it was great to see that," said Milley.

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