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Las Vegas veterans react to Ukraine, Russia standoff with anxious hope that diplomacy prevails

Ukraine Russia
Posted at 9:30 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 02:31:12-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Las Vegas has long been a military town due to the thousands of active service men and women inside of Nellis Air Force Base and the thousands more who completed their service living outside the base's walls.

Many of those vets have crossed their fingers that shots aren't fired half a world away.

100,000 Russian troops have amassed at the Ukrainian border, and Tuesday Nato placed 8,500 troops on high alert.

It's a nervous time for Eric Grimblot.

"I would like to say anything could happen," Grimblot said, "and Russia is not necessarily the Taliban. They are an established country with capabilities to do a lot more."

Grimblot was a Marine for 14 years seeing action in Afghanistan and Iraq and being awarded a Purple Heart for his service.

He said the standoff around the globe makes him worry for the young men and women put on alert, and think about the ones who sacrificed all.

"Old men talking, young men dying," Grimblot said. "I think of a good friend of mine who was 19 and didn't make it back from Iraq. I'm like, he wasn't even able to buy a beer."

MORE: Ukraine urges citizens to remain calm, says Russian invasion not imminent

Thirty-year Army veteran Jill Chamber and her husband Michael Peterson have also been keeping a close eye on developments and worrying about more than U.S. troop deployments.

"We have a lot of friends in Eastern Europe," Peterson said. "In the Republic of Georgia, Poland, Bulgaria, so we are on alert sort of on their behalf."

Chambers spent 12 years in the Pentagon both during and in the years following 9/11.

She said she's appreciated the largely diplomatic approach the U.S. and other countries have taken as a deterrent to military action, and she wanted the standoff to end with a battle of words and not soldiers.

"Let's just hope that some level heads will come through with this and there can be some resolution that doesn't include war," she said.

Grimblot said he's confident that if the standoff escalates, U.S. forces will do whatever needs done, but he hoped a catastrophic clash between world powers never materializes.