Some 400 SC Guard troops returning from Kosovo

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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — About 400 South Carolina National Guard soldiers are returning to their families and friends after completing a nine-month deployment in the Balkan nation of Kosovo.

Five ceremonies were held Tuesday to welcome the men and women assigned to the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. They served as part of a multi-national peacekeeping force that has been working to reduce conflict in Kosovo after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.

Families, friends and other Guard soldiers gathered in Charleston, Union, Gaffney, Conway and West Columbia for the events.

The soldiers deployed to Kosovo last August.

Guard commander Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston says the soldiers restored hope and built a culture of peace during a critical time in a region filled with ethnic divisions.

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