I came across the expression of "<somebody> returned a hero" in the context below,
With Chonghou in prison, Zeng Jize, son of a celebrated general, Zeng Guofan, was sent to Russia to renegotiate the treaty. Zeng’s chief qualifications seem to have been arrogance and an unwillingness to compromise. The Russians were reluctant to go to war, and ultimately gave the Chinese much of what they wanted. Zeng returned a hero, and the hardliners learned a lesson of dubious value: never give ground to foreigners.
The short sentence as a whole is somewhat clear in its meaning. I reckon it means that Zeng returned to his homeland in glory like a hero.
If my reckoning is right, then I can say for sure there is an ellipsis in this expression. Maybe an "as" or "like" has been omitted. If that's the case, is “as” or “like” dispensable in all such expressions？
For instance, what about these sentence，
He works (as) a cashier.
She is employed (as) a fashion model.
They are treated (like) children.
This candy tastes (like) peppermint.
Are they still correct without "as" or "like"?