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NEWS | Dec. 27, 2006

Deployment in Iraq is a family affair for Kentucky National Guard unit

By 1st Lt. Michael Sharp 410th Quartermaster Co., 15th Sustainment Brigade

Like many units in the Kentucky National Guard, the 410th Quartermaster Company, based in Danville, Ky., considers itself family. When you eat, sleep, and work with the same people day in and day out, it’s only natural that you become close.

But for eight guardsmen in the 410th, the bond is deeper than just ‘brothers-in-arms,’ its blood thick. There are two sets of siblings, a pair of first cousins and four members of one Danville family.
“The best part about being deployed together is that I know 100 percent that he has my back in all situations,” said Sgt. Ricky Mullins about his brother, Kenny.

The Mullins brothers grew up in Lincoln County watching two uncles and two older cousins enjoy the guard experience. When it was time for them to make the decision about joining the service, Ricky and Kenny enlisted into the same unit.

During the mid-1990s, eight members of the Mullins family were on the Kentucky National Guard books.

For Spc. Wanda Denham, having her younger brother, Spc. William Taylor, around is a good thing. Both Soldiers depend on each other for support and said the deployment would be more difficult if they weren’t together.

“Having my brother here is a blessing,” she said. “He is always there when I feel homesick.”

Like many Kentuckians, Staff Sgt. William Wagoner grew up around his first cousins. He and Sgt. Chris Tarter spent much of their youth with each other and view one another as brothers.

Both Soldiers spent time on active duty prior to joining the National Guard. Wagoner convinced Tarter to join the 410th in 2000 and the two agree that the unit has kept them very close in the last seven years.

“Now that we have our own families, we wouldn’t be nearly as close if it wasn’t for the guard,” Tarter said.

But for one family, the guard isn’t needed for them to stay close to one another.
Sgt. Brad Dunne, mess sergeant for the 410th Quartermaster, is proud to serve with his stepson, Spc. Aaron Castro, son-in-law, Spc. Daniel Montgomery, and nephew, Sgt. Chaz Garcia.

“It makes the deployment much easier,” he said, describing the unique support channel the family shares. On the other hand, he said, he has “much more to worry about.”

Each member of the family says he has grown closer to one another because of the time spent serving in the Kentucky National Guard.