AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Nearly 30 troops from Task Force Apace returned to Buckley Air Force Base from their mission in the Middle East on Wednesday morning.

Friends and family gathered at the base in Aurora to welcome them home. The unit is based out of Longmont but the soldiers live and work across Colorado.

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Dozens of soldiers from the Colorado Army National Guard’s Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery Regiment returned home from combat operations in the Middle East.

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They deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. During their time overseas, they launched more than 800 precision rockets, the highest rate of any High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System unit since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan.

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“These Soldiers led decisive and effective artillery attacks on the Taliban,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joel Schiager, commander of Battery A, in a statement. “These Colorado Guard members fired artillery in a very high-paced environment, and they exceeded all expectations. Their efforts made a huge contribution in the battle against US and Afghan enemies while forming strong relationships with the Afghan National Army.”

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“The Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers in this unit integrated with the Army and significantly contributed to the warfight,” said The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh, in a statement. “They could not have accomplished this mission without family and employer support.”

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