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A US Army veteran who served in Iraq is now volunteering in Ukraine’s fight against Russia, training troops before they head to the front lines to defend their country.
“These are ordinary civilians who, in 1776 fashion, have decided to answer their nation’s call to duty,” said the Army veteran, who spoke to Fox News on condition of anonymity in because of concerns for his safety. “They are willing to die for the land they inhabit. They truly believe the direction is towards a classically liberal democratic society embedded with Western values.
The army veteran was a member of the army’s military police corps between 2006 and 2011 and was deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010. He also worked as a security contractor in Afghanistan after his time in the military.
But now the American finds himself near the front lines of a different war, choosing to voluntarily travel to Ukraine to train his forces before potentially joining them on the front lines of the war against Russia.
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“I’m a fan of Ukrainian culture and people,” the American said of his motivation to help the Ukrainian war effort. “They have rejected their communist past and they love our country more than some of our fellow citizens.”
He also noted that the outcome of the war will have a dramatic effect on the United States and its allies, saying he “stands at the last outpost of Western society.”
“If Russia is able to control major port cities and tracts of farmland, while maintaining influence over American allies through pretropolitics, our transatlantic alliances and ventures will crumble,” he said. “The resulting food crisis will affect the developing world and bring more migrants to Europe and disrupt political systems.”
The army veteran, who paid for his own travel, clothing and equipment to volunteer, spent most of his time briefing Ukrainian forces on combat first aid and basic tactics, skills including they will be needed in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives on both sides.
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The people he trains have volunteered for the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force, which he likened to a National Guard or U.S. Reserve unit activated for combat deployment.
He noted that the people who volunteered came from all walks of life, including “veterinarians, dancers and photographers”, who all took “different paths in civilian life” but decided to take up arms and defend the Ukraine.
“These people are engineers and programmers,” he said. “These people are smart, cunning people who answered their national call to duty because of a fascist invader.
“They are defending their sovereignty against the tyranny and slavery of Russia, and for me that is the most inspiring thing,” he continued.
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The American credited his time in the US military and as a security contractor with giving him the tools he needed to take on the new fight, although he noted several differences between his previous combat experience and the fight in Ukraine.
“The United States military, we have incredible air superiority, the best technology,” he said. I understand the tactics of an underdog having fought the underdog while being the higher power.
“The sense of toughness that you develop from being on a combat deployment and training and being in that operational mindset prepares you, but it doesn’t prepare you for the level of intensity of the fighting” currently going on in Ukraine, he said.
But the army veteran noted that the morale and willingness of the Ukrainian people to fight for their country makes up for what some of them lack in basic combat skills and experience.
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“They built this national identity of who they are so quickly and it became so united,” he said. “The Ukrainian army does not lack motivation to fight…hundreds of thousands of people are put into service.”
He noted that many people who volunteer for service have “major deficiencies” in their knowledge of basic military tactics and “the use of modern combat tourniquets and the treatment of the wounded.”
But their motivation to fight off a Russian invasion makes them ideal for training.
“They keep asking questions and they want deeper knowledge,” he said.
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“They are ready 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 at some point he will go to the front lines himself, where he hopes people back home in the United States will continue to support the Ukrainian war effort.
“The fact that Americans support Ukraine, for them, is the deepest feeling,” he said. “You walk the streets of Ukraine and ask them ‘what do you think of the Americans?’ These people will say, “We love the Americans. We never had that kind of love in Afghanistan, we never had that kind of love in Iraq. We never had that degree of appreciation for from any country.”
“It is imperative that Americans remain engaged in this conflict,” he continued. “There needs to be continued ongoing support.”