FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Across the country, more than 8,500 U.S. troops are on heightened alert amid concerns about Russian military movement near Ukraine.
At this point, it’s not clear exactly which troops could face deployment, including whether troops at Fort Bragg would be impacted.
However, the latest developments in eastern Europe do catch the attention of everyone in the community, according to Enrique Murillo, a retired Fort Bragg soldier who served 11 years in the Army. He now runs a suicide awareness and prevention organization called Through Tragedy Comes Light.
“(It) just means people are on stand by right now,” Murillo said of the 8,500 troops placed on heightened alert. “It’s that ‘hurry up and wait’ mentality. But it can happen at a moment’s notice. That affects a lot of people.”
Murillo faced multiple deployments during his Army career, including to Afghanistan, where he said he was shot 14 years ago on Wednesday.
He spoke of the uncertainty troops — and their families — face, at a time like this.
“It’s kind of like an emotional roller coaster for some,” he said. “For some people, it’s the ‘wait and let’s go and get this done.’ For others, it’s the anxiety of preparing for something … and then it doesn’t happen, or they tell you to stand down.”
The preparations in the U.S. come as the federal government urged American citizens to leave Ukraine. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her briefing Monday: “We are conveying to American citizens they should leave now.”
Meanwhile, in Fayetteville and in surrounding communities, Murillo said he’s confident any troops deployed will have the community’s unwavering support. He’s also confident in the troops’ preparedness.
“All your training that you have done before,” he said, “That’s your foundation.”