Afghanistan deployment a family affair for one Ohio unit


CLEVELAND, Ohio (NBC) - On the back porch door of Hilda and Kevin Painter's home hangs a flag.

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

"It just makes me feel good to know that they're willing to do that sort of thing for us," says Hilda, mom of three of the men.

Hilda's husband Kevin is glad they'll be together. "They're just a group of guys that love to be together, and they go as a unit and they defend our country."

On Tuesday, the two parents will say goodbye to three sons--Staff Sergeant Leo Prince, Sergeant Mark Prince, Private First Class Brandon Painter--and a nephew, Sergeant Coty Prince.

All are truck drivers with the 1486th Transportation Unit of the National Guard, deploying for 12 months to Afghanistan, and all but the youngest fought in the Iraq War.

Leo Prince says he doesn't know what to expect with this deployment. "Like, the second time I went, I knew I could help these guys--let them know what to expect. This time, it's new for all of us."

And waiting back home will be their wives, girlfriends, and daughters who are all proud, and all praying the time flies fast.

Hilda Painter expresses her concerns, but also her hopes. "It'll be quiet for sure… It's hard. I just gotta kinda live in my own little world and know that they're gonna be ok."

As Coty Prince says: "It'll be hard leaving family, but we'll still have family together, so it should make it a lot easier."

This brotherhood within a brotherhood for these soldiers makes it important that they make this commitment as one.