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GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — More than 100 soldiers from Europe’s only U.S. Army combat aviation brigade returned to Germany from Afghanistan on Friday, marking the start of an early redeployment for some in the unit.

Members of two battalions with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade — the 412th Aviation Support Battalion and the 5th Battalion, 158th General Support Aviation Regiment — were welcomed home at a pre-dawn ceremony in a hangar on their post in Katterbach, according to the brigade’s rear detachment. More returns are expected in the coming weeks.

The main body of the brigade cased its colors in April for a 10-month deployment to northern Afghanistan and Kuwait.

In a pair of messages posted to the unit’s Facebook page in June and July, commander Col. Jay Voorhees said some soldiers would redeploy early as part of the larger reduction of forces in Afghanistan. The U.S. set a September deadline for removing 33,000 troops from Afghanistan, equal to the number of “surge” troops ordered to the country in 2009.

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