FORT HOOD, Texas -- Families and friends of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment welcomed their troopers home after a brief ceremony on Cooper Field at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 23. The regiment started its deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, where it advised the Afghan National Security Forces and oversaw the closing and handover of International Security Assistance Force bases to the Afghan National Security Forces in Regional Command East. The unit ended its time in Afghanistan supporting Operation Resolute Support, continuing its advising role on a higher command level covering a larger area. The friends and Families of the returning Troopers waited at Cooper Field for the moment when they could finally see their loved ones after the eight-month deployment. Children danced to the music of a DJ while holding hand-made signs, and Families shared stories of how they made it through the deployment. "It's going to be surreal having him here," said Cari Pridgen, the wife of Sgt. Joseph Pridgen, a combat engineer with 4th Squadron "Longknife," 3rd Cav. Regt. "I'm so excited. I can't believe he is finally home. Even though this has been his shortest deployment, it seemed like it was the longest, because we had a child this time. It seemed like it took forever for this deployment to be done." After busses filled with Soldiers lined up in front of the parade field, families opposite the stands shouted "Move that bus!" revealing the last few Troopers to return from Afghanistan. The formation marched forward to the cheers and screams of the crowd for a welcome home speech from Maj. Gen. Michael Bills, 1st Cavalry Division commander. Bills spoke of the regiment's job well done before dismissing the formation. "The 3rd Cavalry Regiment performed excellently," said Bills. "They where tasked with a difficult mission and conducted operations above and beyond expectations." At the word "Charge," the families rushed the formation of Troopers. Wives, children, and mothers jumped into the arms of the returning Soldiers. "We are happy to be back home, but will never forget the Soldiers who were hurt and killed in action," said Col. Cameron Cantlon, 3rd Cav. Regt. commander. "The ceremony and return of the Troopers to their Families completes the very important mission this regiment was asked to accomplish."