CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan, Aug. 20, 2012 - Four pairs of brothers, all from Nevada, recently arrived at Kabul, Afghanistan, to begin their mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
All serving in the Army, they are Pfc. Matthew and Pfc. Christopher Babas, Sgt. Christopher and Spc. Dustin Greener, Cpl. Donald and Pvt. Jason Otto, and Spcs. Bobby and James Riley.
Matthew Babas, a gunner, is the youngest of the group. He said he joined the Army to see the world. Christopher Babas, also a gunner, was studying engineering before taking a break from college to deploy to Afghanistan. In the future, he said, he wants to attend flight school and possibly become a warrant officer in the National Guard.
The Babas brothers are very close, and are roommates back home in Las Vegas. They said that although their schedules here do not allow them to spend as much time together as they would like, this experience will still bring them closer together. Christopher said it is comforting that Matthew is here with him, but it's also scary, because he would hate to find out that something bad happened to his brother while he was on a mission.
Dustin Greener, a gunner, said he joined the Army to serve his country. Christopher is a team leader with first platoon, and the brothers are roommates back home in Spring Creek, Nev.
"I am astounded that my brother is here with me and has my back," Christopher said. Dustin said he sees less of his brother here than he did back home, and is sometimes jealous of his brother, who has been on more missions so far than he has.
The Otto brothers are natives of Sparks, Nev. Donald, a team leader, works full time for the Nevada National Guard, assisting in human resources. Donald said he wants to finish this mission, finish school and start a family.
His brother, Jason, or "Baby Otto" as he is often called, said he joined the Army to gain life experience, for the college money and to get a head start on life. Jason is both a gunner and a driver with his company.
The Otto brothers believe that being in Afghanistan will bring them closer together. "We will have shared something together that no one can take away from us," Donald explained.
They said their parents are worried that they are gone, but glad that at they are together to look after one another.
The Rileys live in Reno, Nev. Bobby said he joined the Army to serve his country and to be a better person. James, the oldest among the four sets of brothers is a metals and minerals lab technician in civilian life. Bobby joined the Army first and then convinced James to join. They see each other more now than they did back home, they said. Although they live only minutes apart in Reno, they explained, they both have families.
Bobby said he is more nervous now about his brother going on missions. The Rileys recently learned their cousin had been injured by a roadside bomb in northern Afghanistan. That incident has brought increased stress on them and their families, they said, but they put those thoughts behind them when it is time to concentrate on the mission at hand.
This is the first deployment for all of the brothers. They all agree that although the deployment is difficult on their parents and families, their families take comfort in the fact that they are deployed together.