Afghanistan A Family Affair

Monday, March 26, 2012 - 9:55am

Three Ohio brothers and their cousin are leaving for Afghanistan as part of the same National Guard unit.

One the back porch door of Hilda and Kevin Painter's Mansfield, Ohio home hangs a flag.

Red and white, with four blue stars down the middle, it is for the four soldiers this one family is about to send off to war.

"It just makes me feel good to know that they're willing to do this sort of thing for our country," said Hilda Painter.

On Tuesday, 170 members of the U.S. National Guard's 1486th Transportation unit will deploy from the Mansfield armory for a twelve month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The unit includes Staff Sergeant Leo Prince, 29; his brother Sergeant Mark Prince, 24; their brother Private First Class Brandon Painter, 20; and their cousin, Sergeant Coty Prince, 24.

Leo served two tours of duty in Iraq, and Mark and Coty served one tour in Iraq.

When Brandon joined the Guard, the four boys --who are all truck drivers-- wanted to serve together in Afghanistan.

Waiting back home are their parents; a younger brother, Nick; their wives and girlfriends; and several young daughters.

"It'll be quiet for sure, but it's hard. I can't watch the news or pay attention to what's going on. I just have to live in my own little world and know they're going to be OK," Hilda said.

She has faith that they will.

Afterall, the men will be there to take care of each other.

"It'll be hard leaving family, but we'll still have family together, so it should make it a lot easier," said Mark.

The Call to Duty Ceremony for the 1486th takes place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, at Ashland University.

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