It was the day they had been waiting for for almost a year.

On Friday, July 1, the Maine Army National Guard's 133rd Engineering Battalion returned home after a lengthy deployment.

The Augusta Armory was packed with family and friends toting signs and welcome home balloons and flags as they waited anxiously in the heat for the soldiers' bus to drive under the arch made by two fire truck ladders and return home to them.

Around 1 pm, after several updates on the whereabouts of the bus, their wishes finally came true as the soldiers marched into the armory through a side door to excited cheers and screams.

After a very short ceremony, the soldiers were allowed to break formation, and it was an all-out sprint for the anxious men and women of the 133rd to be reunited with their families and soon the room was filled with hugs and tears of joy as mini-reunions took place throughout the hall.

The soldiers of the 133rd left on this latest deployment, the unit's third overseas deployment, in August of last year. The unit served in Afghanistan, and during its time overseas it worked to downsize bases in the country as the United States prepares to withdraw its remaining military forces there.

Here's a look at the homecoming ceremony: