Retired Major of Columbus weighs in on Ukraine tensions

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 7:23 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Soldiers in the Chattahoochee Valley are preparing for the possibility of war as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine. The U.S. ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert for potential deployment to Europe just tis week.

Although sending U.S. troops to Ukraine is still a just a possibility, one retired Major who spent decades deploying overseas believes America is ready for the fight, if necessary.

“I had to tell her I’m leaving. I don’t know when I’m coming back, and I can’t tell you where I’m going.” A conversation between retired Major and Columbus man, Jeff Struecker, and his wife. This conversation between the two, happening more times than one can imagine.

Struecker spent most of his military career in the Army’s Ranger Regiment. Twenty out of 23 of those years serving, he was part of Rapid Deployment Units - meaning at any given moment, he could be commanded to deploy to war.

“Anytime the U.S. goes anywhere overseas, it’s always ‘Be prepared, get ready to go - go, but you may not go in, but they’re willing to go anywhere they are needed to go to preserve our way of life but also try to make it better for someone across the world,” Struecker explained.

He said he believes the nation is ready to deploy troops to Ukraine if needed, but Streucker also said it doesn’t matter if we are ready or not. He explained we have to be the country that responds full force and immediately.

“I think everyone in the world does not want to see Russia in the Ukraine and NATO have to respond to Russia in the Ukraine,” he told us. “I don’t think anyone on the planet wants to see that happen. But if it does happen, how it unfolds, when it unfolds - all of those things are still yet to be seen.”

When Struecker served in the army, he was deployed 17 times in five different wars - mostly to Iraq and Afghanistan - two hot spots the military was most focused on at that time. But he says now, those focuses are changing.

“When things popped up around the world, they didn’t have to respond immediately,” Struecker told us. “We’re moving back into that era of being ready for anything, anywhere and at any time.”

News Leader 9 reached out to Fort Benning officials to find out how this could affect soldiers here locally, but they could not speak on the matter. We are waiting to hear back from the Pentagon as well.

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