43rd District State Senator Tom Brewer leaves for Ukraine on Friday to serve as civilian military training officer for the Ukrainian Army in its fight against the invading Russian army.
Brewer will fly to Poland, then travel to neighboring Ukraine to instruct soldiers in using a sniper rifle made in Poland – the .50-caliber Thor. Brewer is a top marksman and represented the U-S in contests around the world,
He says the Thor has about an effective range almost 3 times that of the sniper rifles used earlier in the war, about a mile-and-a-half – an important change with the war now being fought in more wide-open terrain.
Brewer says a sniper with a Thor can be out of the range of Russian small arms fire and still take out an opponent.
Ukrainian snipers devastated the Russian officer corps in the early weeks of the war and Brewer thinks they should still be able to get at least 5 targets a day such as vehicle commanders and higher ranking officers.
The early days of the war showed that the Russian army is short of mid-range officers, so continuing to take them out could cripple some units.
Three American veterans in combat with the Ukrainian army were capture recently by the Russians, leading President Joe Biden to recommended against others going there.
Brewer, who served 6 tours in Afghanistan and was seriously wounded twice, says it’s good the the U-S has sent large amounts of arms and other material to Ukraine, but that his going not only brings a new level of expert training but also shows them we’ve got “skin” in the game.
He expects to be moving around a lot while in Ukraine, in and out of combat zones but not in areas occupied by the Russian Army. He plans to be careful, but admits it’s sometimes the luck of the draw when it comes to bombs, artillery, and cruise missiles.
When Brewer returns, he plans to submit a report to the State Department offering his analysis of what the U-S is doing right, what it’s doing wrong, and what needs to be done to provide the best and most effective aid to the Ukrainian forces.
Brewer plans to be in Ukraine until about Labor Day, but says he’ll come back sooner if Gov Pete Ricketts calls a special of the Legislature – a possibility if the U-S Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade.
A bill to outlaw abortion in Nebraska if such a ruling occurs was stopped by a filibuster in the regular session, but a couple senators who didn’t support ending the filibuster indicated it was because they wanted to wait and see what the high court did. Brewer strongly supported the ban.
Described as the most-decorated Nebraska soldier ever, Brewer retired from the Army a decade ago as a Lt Colonel after 36 year in the service.