In the darkness of late Friday night, flashing blue lights from a military police vehicle accentuated the return of the Soldiers of the 233rd Transportation Company to Fort Knox.

Family members, friends, and other Soldiers fidgeted inside Sadowski Field House as they anxiously awaited for the buses carrying the personnel to unload and their loved ones to march through a door painstakingly decorated by the 233rd Family Readiness Group with a red, white, and blue helium-balloon archway.

The first Soldier entered, followed closely by another and the others as the crowd erupted into applause. The company had returned home following a 12-month deployment-its sixth and longest-in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 233rd mission in theater was to provide flexible heavy lift transport for equipment and vehicles as well as other support as needed. During the deployment approximately 500,000 combat miles were driven throughout Iraq's northern and western corridor, resulting in the successful transportation of more than 35,000 tons of supplies and heavy equipment.

Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., the commander of the United States Army Recruiting Command and the senior commander of Fort Knox, addressed the troops.

"Welcome back. Thank you for your dedication; Fort Knox welcomes you home," he said before permitting 233rd Commander Capt. Lydia Welch to dismiss her troops, who headed toward their waiting loved ones.

Many of the male Soldiers were seeing their new bundles of joy for the first time, while female Soldiers were reunited with toddlers. Sadowksi quickly emptied as many were eager to head home and begin their reintegration phase.