TAJI, Iraq - Colorado Army National Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Brian Prunty and his son, Spc. Josiah Prunty, both with the 86th Military Intelligence Company are shown together at Camp Taji in June. The father and son deployed to Iraq together, but operate from different bases. Staff Sgt. Prunty is a linguist at Forward Operating Base Falcon, south of Baghdad, and Spc. Prunty is a unmanned aerial systems operator at Taji, north of Baghdad.

BAGHDAD -- A son might be expected to follow in dad's footsteps but for at least one family, those footsteps led to Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Brian Prunty and his son, Spc. Josiah Prunty, are both members of the 86th Military Intelligence Company of the Colorado Army National Guard, and deployed to Iraq with the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard in May 2009.

Both speak with pride about the others' desire to join the National Guard and eventual deployment to Iraq.

He was out of the military for 18 years and he rejoined in October 2006," said the younger Prunty about his father. "He stepped up."

The elder Prunty served in the Army from 1983 to 1989 and now serves as a linguist at Forward Operating Base Falcon.

By enlisting in January 2007, the younger Prunty impressed his father.

"I am so proud. You raise them to be adults and his joining showed he could make good decisions," said the elder Prunty.

The younger Prunty serves as an unmanned aerial system operator at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad.

Service together - although apart -- has strengthened their bond.

"I have to admit it was hard when he went to basic; heart pulling," said Brian.

While in Denver on Guard related training, Brian traveled to see his son depart for basic training.

"I tried to see him when he took the bus to basic and I missed him by 10 minutes; that is a page in a parent's life," he said.

The son returned and began to train in the same unit, impressing his father.

"I will sound like a baby, it touches my heart," said Brian. "He works with great guys and does well with them."

The longest Spc. Prunty had spent from home was basic training and his UAS school. While he followed his dad into the Guard, he didn't follow the same career path.

"I wanted to do something a little different. He was in linguistics and I wanted to do UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles)," said the younger Prunty.

UAVs are remote-controlled aircraft that patrol the battlefield providing up-to-date information for leaders on the ground.

While their work relationship is professional, the bonds of family do manage to break through.

"At high altitude training on Pikes Peak in Colorado everyone was saying 'goodnight;' jokingly, so I said, 'good night Sgt. Dad' and he replied 'good night Private Son,'" said Josiah before he was promoted.

Training and deployment have kept them separated most of the time but recently they met at Taji.

"My dad, in June, came to our UAV site at Taji and saw me on the job," said the younger Prunty. "It was good to hang out with my Dad. It was my best moment in Iraq."

"Having not seen him during the deployment, it brought tears to my eyes," said the elder Prunty. "I thank God for the opportunity."

Page last updated Mon July 20th, 2009 at 15:18