MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Six members of the Miami based 841st Engineer Battalion/Task Force Hurricane who have spent the last ten months serving in Afghanistan are home for the holidays.

Their flight touched down at Miami International Airport just after 2:30 p.m.

“It feels very good, very good. It’s almost unreal,” said Sgt. Frederick Reyes.

“Wow, all I can say is wow and I’m so thankful for everything,” said Sgt. Collins Nelson.

After spending nearly a year in Afghanistan, Nelson said he learned a lot.

“This has been the longest year but let me tell you Afghanistan has taught me so much and I’m a totally changed person for the better,” he said.

Sgt. Nelson said the children of Afghanistan left a lasting impression.

“I mean a pencil, something as small as a pencil, they would appreciate it or even if it’s water or candy or socks something so little they think it’s like a million dollars,” he said.

Now the soldiers say they simply want to spend time with their families.

“Just hanging out with this group right here that’s all I want for Christmas,” said Sgt. Reyes.

The soldiers, who were attached to the 573rd Engineers out of Ft. Lewis, Washington, accomplished quite a lot while based in Regional Command – North in Afghanistan.

In addition to completing a total of 543 combat missions they also cleared 9700 km while conducting counter IED clearance of roads, according to the 841st Engineer Battalion which more than quadrupled the number of IED finds from the previous unit.

The unit also deconstructed five camps and worked 80 construction projects.

β€œThose are some monumental tasks completed to standard and a true testament to the dedication and professionalism of Task Force Hurricane Soldiers,” according to a statement from the battalion.


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