THERE were cheers, whoops of joy and loud applause at US military bases in Afghanistan today as soldiers welcomed in their new commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama.
Soldiers at Camp Phoenix, a mainly US base on the outskirts of Kabul, stood to attention as they watched a live television transmission of Mr Obama take the oath in Washington.
"It's a proud moment for us," said Brigadier General Steven Huber, commander of the base, where many of the soldiers hail from Illinois, also Mr Obama's home state.
"He is our new commander-in-chief and we will serve him with honour," he said. Live feeds of the ceremony were watched at other bases across Afghanistan - where roughly 32,000 US soldiers lead an international effort to fight a Taliban-led insurgency and rebuild the local security forces.
"To see a black man become commander-in-chief - some people thought it would never happen," said Sergeant Mike Byrd, himself an African-American.
"Now it has happened and that brings loads of joy, the beginning of hope," he said in a large dining hall at Camp Phoenix filled with uniformed men and women, some with guns in holsters or resting in racks, gathered for the event.
"I have family members in tears of joy at this moment," he said.
Moments before the inauguration ceremony, a large cake in honour of the new president was sliced and handed out in front of a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Master Sergeant David Nichols said it felt right for him to be watching the inauguration in Afghanistan.
"I am here, I am defending my country, and I am watching history being made," he said.