There is a man named Bill Muetze with a wife and daughter in Fort Mill, and two sons not in Fort Mill.
Will and Travis Muetze are not in Fort Mill because they are in Afghanistan with the 1222nd Combat Engineer Company of the Army National Guard, clearing roads of bombs.
Both have been in convoys where bombs have blown up. Will has had a concussion, and both are dealing with what they have seen and done and endured.
Bill Muetze, Vietnam combat veteran, is a man who has seen and done and endured the worst things men have to do on this planet when the military says do it.
When he found out that two soldiers in the 1221st Engineers Company from Batesburg - a company just like the one his sons are in, that does the same job his sons do, so close to his sons that the company is separated by just one number - were killed by a roadside bomb, Bill Muetze did what fathers do.
He wailed: "Oh, no!"
Then Bill Muetze got down on his knees, and he prayed.
"For the fathers and sons, the mothers and daughters, the wives and friends and families, this is tragic and terrible," said Muetze. "These guys are heroes. Every darn one of them."
The Batesburg company has been in Afghanistan since July - there are four soldiers from area armories who were deployed to fill slots in that unit.
The Rev. Benny Wade heard about the deaths Tuesday - it hit like a sucker punch to Wade's gut. Wade is the father of soldier Josh Wade in that Fort Mill unit, and more than that he is music minister at First Baptist Church in Fort Mill. And he as both a parent and pastor is watching the days crawl by until all the 1222nd soldiers come home.
"What we can do, what I do every day, is pray for all those soldiers," said Benny Wade. "It hurts all of us when the Guard loses soldiers like this. We all cry for them. I don't just pray for Josh's safety. I pray for all of them. Every soldier in a uniform, and that Fort Mill unit. Those are our boys. Our men and women. Our best."
The Fort Mill unit with 105 soldiers in it has been in Afghanistan since January. That unit, and another from Wellford near Spartanburg that deployed at the same time from the 178th engineering battalion, have cleared some of the most dangerous roads in Afghanistan - and, therefore, on earth.
As of September - more than 7,500 kilometers of roads cleared. That means 105 families, each day in this area, wondering, scared - and waiting.
A lieutenant from Rock Hill named Paul Reed, who served in Iraq before this deployment, sent home an e-mail about a month ago about this unit. He described the soldiers from the unit as, simply, "the bravest."
The Fort Mill unit deployment is slated to be over at the end of this month, with a return to York County sometime in November.
Those days, especially now with the first deaths to guardsmen since their deployments, cannot move any slower.
"Days," said Muetze. "We are at the point where every soldier and every family is counting off the days."
One of those mothers of soldiers is Rock Hill's Eve Hawthorne, whose son Michael Semko is in Afghanistan for the second time. Like Muetze, Hawthorne doesn't just worry about her own son.
She worries about all sons.
"There is no 'I' anymore for us," Hawthorne said. "It is always 'we.' "
Hawthorne heard about Spc. Luther Rabon Jr. and Staff Sgt. Willie Harley Jr. dying in Afghanistan from a co-worker whose nephew is in that same unit. The nephew is fine. Hawthorne's son is fine.
But two soldiers are not fine. They are dead.
"Those families will hear from me, and they will know that those soldiers are heroes," Hawthorne said. "I don't care if a soldier is from Camden or Colorado - if he is one of ours, we take care of ours."
And like Muetze, and every other family of a soldier in that Fort Mill unit with just days until deployment is finished, Hawthorne will wake up today and count off one more day of cleared bombs in Afghanistan - and wait for that son to come home.