New Guard Unit

Sarah Cell took to Twitter early last week.

Her social media pages had been blowing up with comments about the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, and the Iranian missiles launched at U.S. military bases in retaliation. So many opinions. So partisan.

The instructional coach at Grand Island's Jefferson Elementary School wanted people to remember what was happening had real-life impacts for real-life people, including those living in Nebraska.

“My brother is currently overseas, along with thousands of other US soldiers," she tweeted. "The last couple of days have been, uneasy, to say the least. Please say a prayer for our soldiers, allies and the civilians in the Middle East.”

It’s easy to disconnect from the real-life effects of national politics, she said. But for her, and so many others, it hits home. Her brother — a major in the National Guard who did a tour in Iraq in 2006 — was deployed in July from a Colorado National Guard unit.

She expects she’s much like family members of others in the military.

“I don’t watch the news. There’s stuff going on over there every day. I’ve found that it will make me really anxious,” she said. “You feel very helpless, because there’s nothing you can do. You put your blinders on.”

It was impossible not to pay attention to the events of the last week.

Luckily, she’s able to text her brother, who has assured her he’s safe.

In Nebraska, no Guard units are deployed now, which is unusual, said Maj. Scott Ingalsbe, the Nebraska National Guard’s state public-affairs officer.

An aviation unit that deployed to Afghanistan for 10 months returned in November.

Josh Blomstedt, whose daughter was born while he was there with Bravo Company of the 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion, said because he was just deployed, he’s not worried about being deployed again despite what’s happening. He's just enjoying being home.

Since the drone strike killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, U.S. Northern Command heightened security at all of its installations in the United States, said Maj. Mark R. Lazane, NORTHCOM media chief, including Lincoln’s base.

And in Grand Island, Cell said it felt like a cliché to ask people to pray for her brother and other service members, but really, there's nothing else one can do.

"All you can do is pray for them,” she said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist


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