Fort Bragg troops deploy to Poland amid Ukraine tensions

Efforts of the paratroopers are recognized in local businesses like Jim’s Pawn Shop.
This weekend, thousands of soldiers left Fort Bragg to head to Poland.
Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:57 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - At Fayetteville V.F.W. Post 6018, survivors of previous conflicts pass the time by playing pinochle.

Achieving success at the card table is a constant goal, though easily shift to the safety of members connected to Fort Bragg’s 82nd airborne.

Jack Pine served with the 82nd in Vietnam.

“Nobody wants to see anybody go off to war, but it’s a fact of life in this current time,” he said.”When the Commander in Chief says it’s time to go, you go.”

Back in January of 1990, WBTV was on the ground in Panama during Operation Just Cause, and later that year, many of the same soldiers left North Carolina again to fight in Operation Desert Storm.

Efforts of the paratroopers are recognized in local businesses like Jim’s Pawn Shop.

That’s where manager Trey Pugh is hoping for a diplomatic outcome in Ukraine.

“I think most of the community thinks that it’s not going to be a long-term deployment. I don’t think they think that this is going to be a two-year deployment or a one-year deployment. We have our fingers crossed that this will be a short-term deployment. We’re gonna go over there and come back fairly quickly,” Pugh said.

Fort Bragg is the economic engine that drives Fayetteville and Cumberland County, but with some 5,000 members of the military already being deployed to Nato Countries, one might think businesses may be bracing for a big hit.

That’s not the case at Luigi’s restaurant which first opened back in the 1950′s. Nate Ernst manages the family business.

Ernst told WBTV, ”As far as the bottom line, we can’t control who when where and why. All we can do is control is who we are and what we want to be is a great part of the community.”

Meanwhile back at VFW Post 6018, Jack Pine makes the point that individuals headed to global hotspots should be clear when it comes to the rules of engagement.

“You volunteered and you know what the army is all about. You know what the military is all about,” Pine said.

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