FT. KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) - Just in time for the holidays, close to 300 soldiers were welcomed home Sunday night.
WDRB shares the special moments as the families hugged their soldiers for the first time in months.

A lot of families were anxiously awaiting late Sunday night at Fort Knox with signs and balloons. As the soldiers walked in the gymnasium, the families erupted in cheers. 285 soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

We saw plenty of newborn babies--with their fathers meeting them for the very first time. One lucky father was here when his daughter was born--but was deployed when she was just seven weeks old.
He says he is happy to be holding her again--and to be a part of her life. "It's great. It's awesome, all these people came out to see us, it feels really good," said 1st Lt. Blake Powers.

"It's great. it's awesome all these people came out to see us. It feels really good," Said 1st Lt. Blake Powers.

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"I feel for those fathers and mothers who the dad wasn't even there in the delivery room. At least he was here for that. We're so thankful that they came home early and dad will be home for the first Christmas."

Families say this is the best Christmas present ever--and many are making plans for the holidays that include the newly welcomed-home soldiers.

"It is just a blessing, a wonderful, wonderful blessing...to have him home," said Dottie Callaway Jones, of her son, Malcolm, coming home.

The unit will continue to send soldiers home through May with the majority of the brigade returning before March 2014.