By Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) - The 10th Mountain Division - the Army’s first to be deployed to Afghanistan and the last to return - was welcomed home Monday at a ceremony at its base in far northern New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Army Secretary John McHugh, a former congressman from the North Country, addressed the troops at Fort Drum and thanked them for their service.

“The work you’ve done in Afghanistan makes us all proud,” Cuomo said.

American and NATO troops closed their operational command in Afghanistan on Monday, marking the formal end of their combat mission in a country still mired in war 13 years after the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime for harboring those responsible for 9/11.

The 10th Mountain Division was the first U.S. division deployed to Afghanistan in 2001. It was also deployed to Iraq from 2008 to 2009. Its duties over the past year included closing nearly two dozen U.S. bases.

Two 10th Mountain Division soldiers received the Medal of Honor for their actions in Afghanistan. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti was awarded posthumously in 2009 for his actions during combat in 2006, and Capt. William Swenson was awarded in 2013 for his actions in 2009 during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan.

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