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Family and friends gathered with palpable excitement and relief to welcome home the Minnesota National Guard’s Detachment Five aviators from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 245th Aviation Regiment, of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade. The heartwarming reunion occurred at the Saint Paul Army Aviation Facility at Holman Field on April 18, 2024, as the soldiers returned from a demanding nine-month deployment to Bogota, Colombia. During their time overseas, these dedicated servicemembers supported the United States Southern Command’s Combat Transnational Organized Crime Counter Drug and Counter Narcotics mission, undertaking flight operations and transporting passengers and cargo throughout South America. Their safe return marks the end of a challenging mission and a joyous moment for their loved ones who eagerly awaited their homecoming.

As they reunite with their families and reintegrate into civilian life, their bravery and resilience remind them of the sacrifices made by military personnel in service to their country. The photographs captured by Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper of the Minnesota National Guard stand as a testament to the enduring bonds of camaraderie and the profound sense of relief and pride felt by all who welcomed these heroes home.