About 150 Minnesota National Guard members who were deployed to Afghanistan are returning home Wednesday.
The Guard soldiers are part of the 114th Transportation Company, based in Duluth and Chisholm.
They served in Afghanistan for a year, providing convoy security and logistical support for the Marine Corps and other troops.
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Olson, a spokesman with the Minnesota National Guard, said they played an essential role.
"When they were there, not only did they support U.S. forces, but they supported NATO forces -- notably the British, and also our Afghan partners," Olson said. "So they were very critical providing supplies and transportation throughout all of Afghanistan."
Three welcome-home celebrations will be held Wednesday afternoon in Austin, Roseville, and Duluth.
One Guard soldier who won't be coming home is Specialist George W. Cauley. The Walker man died in October from injuries received when insurgents attacked his vehicle with a homemade bomb.