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A U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq is now volunteering in Ukraine’s fight against Russia, training troops before they head to the front lines in defense of their country.
“These are ordinary civilians who, 1776 style, have decided to answer their nation’s call to duty,” the Army veteran, who talked to Fox News on condition of anonymity due to concerns for his safety, said. “They’re willing to die for the land that they inhabit. They truly believe that the direction is towards a classically liberal, democratic society integrated with western values.
The Army veteran was a member of the Army’s Military Police Corps between 2006-2011 and was deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010. He also worked as a security contractor in Afghanistan after his time in the Army.
But now the American finds himself close to the front lines of a different war, choosing to voluntarily travel to Ukraine to train their forces before potentially joining them on the front lines of the war against Russia.
“I am a fan of the culture and people of Ukraine,” the American said of his motivation for wanting to help the Ukrainian war effort. “They have rejected their communist past and they love our country more than some of our own people.”
He also noted that the war’s outcome will have a dramatic effect on the U.S. and its allies, arguing he “stands at the last outpost of western society.”
“If Russia is able to control major port cities and swaths of agricultural land, along with maintaining influence on American allies through pretropolitics, our transatlantic alliances and businesses will collapse,” he argued. “The resulting food crisis will affect the developing world and cause more migrants to flood into Europe and disrupt the political systems.”
The Army veteran, who has paid for his own travel, clothing, and gear in order to volunteer, has spent most of his time getting Ukrainian forces up to speed on combat first aid and basic tactics, skills they will need in a conflict that has claimed thousands of casualties on both sides.
The people he is training have volunteered with Ukraine’s Territorial Defense force, which he compared to an American National Guard or Reserve unit being activated for a combat deployment.
He noted that the people volunteering have come from all walks of life, including “veterinarians, dancers, and photographers,” who all took “various paths in civilian life” but decided to pick up arms and defend Ukraine.
“These people are engineers and programmers,” he said. “These people are intelligent and craftful people who have been answering their national call to duty due to a fascist invader.
“They’re defending their sovereignty from tyranny and slavery from Russia, and to me this is the most inspiring thing,” he continued.
The American credited his time in the U.S. military and as a security contractor for giving him the tools he needed to take on the new fight, though he noted several differences between his previous combat experience and the fight in Ukraine.
“The American military, we have amazing air superiority, the best technology,” he said.” So now I am forced to understand almost what is essentially like an insurgency in some respects. They’re the underdogs. I understand the tactics of an underdog having fought the underdog while being the superior power.
“The sense of hardness that you develop from being on a combat deployment and training and being in this operational mindset prepares you, but it doesn’t prepare you for the level of intensity of combat” currently going on in Ukraine, he said.
But the Army veteran noted the morale and will of the Ukrainian people to fight for their country makes up for what some of them lack in basic combat skills and experience.
“They’ve built up this national identity of who they are so quickly and it has become so united,” he said. “The Ukrainian Army doesn’t lack motivation to fight… hundreds of thousands of people are being brought to service.”
He noted a lot of the people volunteering for service have “major gaps” in their knowledge of basic military tactics and “usage of modern combat tourniquets and casualty treatment.”
But their motivation to fight against a Russian invasion makes them ideal to train.
“They keep asking questions and they want deeper knowledge,” he said.
“They’re willing to fight to the last man,” he continued. “These people will fight to the last man and these people inspire me every day.”
The American noted that he will at some point be bound for the front lines himself, where he hopes people back home in the U.S. will continue to be supportive of the Ukrainian war effort.
“The fact that Americans back Ukraine, to them, is the deepest sentiment,” he said. “You walk the streets of Ukraine and ask them ‘what do you think of Americans?’ These people will say ‘we love Americans.’ We never got this type of love in Afghanistan, we never got this type of love in Iraq. We’ve never gotten this degree of appreciation from any country.”
“It is imperative that Americans remain engaged in this conflict,” he continued. “There needs to be continuous ongoing support.”