Jessy McClernan, right, of Westville, N.J. and Corey Woolson, of Haddon Township, N.J., hold signs as they wait for McClernan's fiance, SSgt. Mathew Parsons Monday, May 25, 2009, at the U.S. Army's Fort Dix in Wrightstown, N.J. Parsons is one of about 390 New Jersey Army National Guard soldiers of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team returning on the Memorial Day holiday from duty in Iraq. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A plane carrying nearly 400 members of the Guard's 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team arrived Monday afternoon at McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County. They were then taken to Fort Dix to be reunited with their family members.
The soldiers are the first to return from the largest overseas deployment of the New Jersey National Guard since World War II.
Some 2,800 members of the brigade have been in Iraq since September — some posted in Baghdad, others on prison camp guard duty in southern Iraq.
The remaining New Jersey Guard troops are scheduled to arrive home on a series of flights over the next two weeks.
In New York City, residents marked Memorial Day with parades, speeches and moments of silence. Queens officials and community members held a flag salute and moment of silence at the Whitestone Veterans Memorial. Gov. David Paterson called on the state's residents to observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.
Laurelton and Whitestone in Queens, Inwood in Manhattan and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn were among the communities holding parades.