What made the moment even sweeter for Cpl. Dave Trevors was the baby girl his wife Nicole was holding in her arms when they hugged.
Trevors had not seen his four-month-old daughter, Hannah, since he came home on leave when she was born.
"It was great to see them," an overwhelmed Trevors said, holding his daughter.
Based in Kandahar during their tour of duty, the soldiers are part of A Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI).
Trevors and his colleagues received a hero's welcome filled with applause and tears.
Exhausted by a long flight to Winnipeg from Germany, that included stops in Iqaluit and CFB Trenton, Ont., the soldiers' spirits soared when they saw their loved ones, some of them clutching homemade posters, balloons and digital cameras.
A military jazz band serenaded them.
Candace Weiss can attest to the strength and character it takes to be a military spouse with young children.
She cared for two kids, aged three years and nine months, while her husband and their father, Master Cpl. Jon Weiss, served overseas.
"It's the best Valentine's ever. I'm so happy to have my hero home," Candace said smiling.
"It's been very hard not knowing whether they are OK or not. Waiting up to three weeks at a time to hear from him."
After their plane touched down in Winnipeg, the soldiers boarded buses for an estimated two-hour trip to Shilo, about 35 kilometres east of Brandon, where they were reunited with their families and colleagues. Canadian troops are in Afghanistan as part of a UN-sanctioned mission. Canada is participating along with 36 other nations at the request of the Afghan government.
Personally, I'd like to welcome home Company A, 2nd Battalion of 2PPCLI, welcome home to Canada - and thank you for all you have done, all you have experienced - for us. ~M.M.