HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas - Troopers and their families with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment "Brave Rifles" attended a welcome home celebration March 23, at Purser Family Park, hosted by the regiment's community partner of Harker Heights.

"I love the community, I love the people and this is very much appreciated," said Col. Jonathan Byrom, regimental commander, about the celebration.

Nearly half of the regiment deployed last year to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the effort to defeat the last remnants of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and just recently returned earlier this year after the nine-month deployment. Brave Rifles troopers worked alongside coalition partners and supported Iraqi Security Forces with intelligence support, joint fires, aerial surveillance and training opportunities.

Despite the ominous clouds covering the Texas sky threatening rain, the welcome home celebration kicked off with the presentation of the colors by the Harker Heights High School JROTC Color Guard, and the singing of the national anthem, led by cadet Tatiana Toribio.

Harker Heights Mayor Spencer Smith, Texas State Representative Brad Buckley and Byrom, then addressed the troopers and Families, thanking them for their continued sacrifice in serving their country.

During his speech, Smith made a proclamation and declared the regiment, "to be a bright star of central Texas."

After the speeches, Brave Rifles troopers and their Families mingled and enjoyed music, games and free food.

Amy Elgin, the spouse of infantryman Sgt. Tanner Elgin, 3rd Squadron, said she was happy and thankful to have her husband home.

"While he was deployed, I actually had his son," said Elgin while rocking the 8-month-old baby in a stroller. "So having him home, having his help and support for the baby, is good."

Elgin said the celebration really showcased the support of the community and emphasized how great a partnership between the military and community can be.

"This event is really awesome and it's one of the advantages of being stationed at a large military base. The sponsors and volunteers know how to surround these units and provide support," said Elgin.

Byrom said he was in awe of the event and proud to be a part of it.

"It's an honor to be partnered with the city of Harker Heights and we appreciate everything they do for the regiment," said Byrom.