About 40 Edmonton families received an early Christmas gift today.

A plane filled with Edmonton-based troops returning from duty from Afghanistan was set to arrive home in the early morning hours.

“This is the last group of Edmonton-based troops returning home before Christmas,” said military spokesperson Fraser Logan.

Members of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) and 1 Combat Engineer Regiment were due back on Canadian soil just after midnight. Families awaited their loved ones back at the Edmonton Garrison.

This will be the last group of Edmonton-based soldiers to return home in 2010. The next set of troops are not set to deploy to Afghanistan until the Spring of 2011.

Canada will end combat missions in the wartorn country in July of next year, but are set to stay on in a training capacity until 2014.

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