SCHWEINFURT, Germany (December 8, 2011) -- Family members and loved ones received an early Christmas present Dec. 8 when approximately 150 Soldiers with the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion returned here from Afghanistan earlier than anticipated.Soldiers with 44th's A Company and some Soldiers with C Company and Headquarters & Headquarters Company returned from Afghanistan after having deployed from Schweinfurt in April and May of this year. The remainder of HHC is expected to return before Christmas while the rest of C Company will remain downrange until further notice.At approximately 2:45 p.m. the returning Soldiers, who fall under 5th Signal Command's 7th Tactical Theater Signal Brigade, marched through streamers in the Ledward Activity Center entrance. Loud cheers and applause erupted throughout the gymnasium at first sight of the Soldiers .By the looks on the faces of the spouses and children of the redeploying Soldiers, the return of their loved ones was highly anticipated and well appreciated. Some of the Soldiers returned with red roses to present to their loved ones to signify how much they were missed during the 7 to 9 month deployment.After a quick prayer by the chaplain and a few words from Lt. Col. Michael Runey, the USAG Schweinfurt commander, the Soldiers were released to their respective companies and then dismissed.Although the Soldiers have returned from deployment, there is still work to be done. The reintegration process will begin the day after return and will continue for the next seven days.