The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, which lost eight of its soldiers in a recent tour of duty in Iraq, has been given the Freedom of the City of Manchester.
The soldiers will parade through the centre of Ashton on Thursday
About 700 soldiers marched through the city centre before taking part in a ceremony at the town hall.
They will also parade through the centre of Ashton-under-Lyne on Thursday and receive the Freedom of Tameside.
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Kenyon said it was a "perfect" way for the soldiers to thank their families and friends.
He said: "We have returned form a very successful tour in Iraq and this is the perfect way to thank our families and the local community for all their support during our tour.
"As your local regiment we are particularly looking forward to maintaining and building on our close links with both Manchester and Tameside."
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, councillor Glynn Evans, said it was a "very special day for the regiment and it is recognition by the city of the enormous contribution made by every one of them".
The regiment comprises two regular army battalions, the 1st and 2nd battalions, and one Territorial Army battalion, the 4th Battalion.