Brothers In Arms

The Mouton brothers CBS

In the huge family that is the American military, the Moutons may be the only three blood brothers on the same base in a war zone — Camp Taji, Iraq.

"I'd say we're pretty busy — busier than I thought," Allen Mouton tells CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston.

This is Allen's third tour in Iraq since 1991. His brothers, Michael and Reginald, are there for the second time

If the president asked Reginald for advice on whether to send more troops or not, what would he say?

"I'd ask what was his plan on sending the troops," says Reginald, a staff sergeant who runs a team of medics. He worries every day that his big brother Allen could be among the casualties coming through the door.

Allen, a first sergeant, often leads patrols beyond the wire — outside the base. He doesn't tell his brothers when he leaves.

"I'd rather them just focus on their mission," he says. "Focus on your mission, and I'll be all right."

There are 14,000 soldiers at the camp dealing with an enemy who is always testing the Army's ability to respond. For example, insurgents will sometimes set up fake roadside bombs just to observe how U.S. forces react.

The fakes are often a prelude to the real thing: In late November, a member of Allen's troop, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Mulhair, was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near his vehicle.

"The IEDs are a little bit of everywhere," Allen says.

One sure antidote to war's horror is a package from home.

"This is from my wife," he says, opening a box that contained a letter from his oldest daughter.

"She says she loves me and misses me a lot and she's counting the months until I come back home," he says.

The Moutons can tell you: It's all about family — back home, and on the battlefield.

Editor's Note: In the original broadcast of this story, CBS News reported, based on information received from the U.S. military, that Pfc. Joe Baines was in Sgt. Allen Mouton's troop. He was not, although he did die from wounds suffered in an IED incident.
  • Christine Lagorio

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