Pa. National Guard family discusses troop’s mission, missing loved ones

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Five hundred Pennsylvania National Guard families are missing their loved ones this summer, as they serve overseas. The unit is supporting NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence Mission in Poland.

“September 11, 2011, since it was the 10th anniversary, he had seen some ads,” said Lisa Kramer. “He said, ‘I need to go back. This is my calling and I really need to do it.”

That was the day Lisa Kramer remembers her husband Evan Kramer decided to re-join the Pennsylvania National Guard. 

In total, he’s served for nearly 15 years.

The Armed Forces have shaped every one of the couple’s milestones. 

“Before we got married, he was activated to help Katrina,” said Lisa Kramer. “He was allowed three days: the day before the wedding, the day of the wedding and then the day after.”

But now is the first time Evan Kramer has been far away for a long period of time. 

Evan’s unit is leading Battle Group Poland, which has soldiers from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Croatia and Romania. 

Just this week, the members participated in a transfer of authority ceremony.

The soldiers are helping with NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence Mission.

It’s work that makes Lisa Kramer proud.

“We’re able to text and Facetime,” said Lisa Kramer.

But now, it’s just Lisa Kramer and the family’s pup Oliver in their Carlisle home, prompting some change for the summer.

“Mow the lawn and weed wack which is something I had never done before,” said Lisa Kramer. “My ice machine broke in my refrigerator and usually I would go to him.”

Evan Kramer won’t be back home until the spring of 2020.

But Lisa Kramer says the Guard provides helpful resources to get by. 

“There’s family readiness groups,” said Lisa Kramer. “They contact me at least once a month, make sure that I’m okay.”

She finds support from members of National Guard Facebook groups, from people who are missing their loved ones too.

“You go on there and you say, ‘oh, it’s been a rough day…this happened,’ and there’s always that one person that says, ‘that happened to me and it’s going to be okay,” said Lisa Kramer.

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