War on Terrorism

Friday, March 16, 2012

Face of Defense: Army Brothers Recall Afghanistan Duty

By Army Sgt. Terrance Payton
82nd Airborne Division Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C., March 16, 2012 – A nine-month deployment to Afghanistan came easier to two Army brothers with the 82nd Airborne Division, who recently returned here.

Sgt. Bryan Vinson and Spc. Duane Vinson, both infantrymen with the division’s 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company C, were among 700 paratroopers who returned home here last month.

The brothers were both in northern Afghanistan and saw each other five or six times during their deployment.

“We really didn’t have the capability to contact each other,” said Duane, a squad automatic weapon gunner. “It was more knowing when our teams were going to certain areas that we would cross paths.”

Even with infrequent encounters, Duane said, it helped having his brother nearby. “It was like a piece of back home over there. I could tell him stories like old times,” he said.

Bryan, the older brother and a team leader with the 3rd Platoon, agreed. “It was almost exciting because sometimes we would go out and not know that the other would be somewhere and run into each other. It was a real uplifting thing to see him.”

“We were extremely close growing up,” he added. “We grew up playing sports and always looking out for each other. Honestly, we’ve almost been inseparable.”

The two soldiers, who are from Hendersonville, Tenn., said they share a special relationship with their father who served as an Army cavalry scout and also is named Duane.

“He made sure that we stayed close to each other,” the younger Duane said. “He taught us a lot about being men and a lot about being soldiers.”

“He understands the kind of bond that you share with fellow soldiers,” Bryan said. “To see him and be able to share our experiences with him; he has an understanding of what we’re talking about, that’s what so great about him being prior service.”

Bryan, who has been at Fort Bragg for about a year longer than his brother, said he worried about his younger brother. “As an older brother, I naturally feel protective of him,” he said. “I never really understood how my parents felt about me being here or deploying until he came here and we were deploying together.”

The brothers said their father dealt with the deployment well, and helped their mother deal with the absence of her sons.

“My mother was nervous, but she was almost happy that we would be deploying together,” Duane said. “She felt that if we deploy together that there would be chances that we would see each other and be able to watch out for each other.”

The brothers’ deployment together made their already close relationship even closer, they said.

“We grew up in a good family and have been extremely close our entire lives,” Bryan said. “We already had a strong bond, but being here together and deploying together, that bond has increased tenfold.”

He added that he also is grateful to the Army buddies he deployed with.

“Yeah, I have my biological brother here with me, but none of this deployment would have been possible without the guys in our company, leaders and the guys who followed us,” Bryan said. “We were out there together, but those guys looked after us. We couldn’t have done any of this deployment or this job without the support of any of those people.”

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