James Berry, of Manchester, and Keith Whittum, of Concord, were playing pool in the yard at Whittum's Concord home on Wednesday afternoon, November 2, 2011. The two Specialists returned home at the end of August after being deployed on the Kuwait and Iraq border for the past year with National Guard Bravo Company 3643. While deployed, the two were truck commanders, leaders of a convoy security team, where they would go on missions into Iraq for a minimum of six days at a time responsible for the safe transport of supplies and equipment. "It's abnormal to sit here and not have him around," Whittum said. The two were long-time friends before their deployment and say after returning, they are always keeping in touch and checking up on each other. "You miss having your buddy around," Berry said.