'I just can't ignore it any longer': American Veterans Join the Fight in Ukraine

'I just can't ignore it any longer': American Veterans Join the Fight in Ukraine

The US Marine who served in Iraq on two separate tours was discharged, got a civilian job, and thought all military service was over. The volunteer has been scheduled to go to Ukraine for another deployment. Some veterans had donated rifle scopes, helmets, and body armor to him.

"Sanctions are helpful, but they cannot provide immediate assistance at this time. People need help now," said the retired Marine, who resides in Tampa Bay, Fla. He asked that simply his first name be used for security reasons. "I will be able to assist right away."

The journalist is one of a slew of American veterans who are now planning to join the fight in Ukraine, encouraged by the president of the country, Volodymyr Zelensky, who announced earlier this week that he was creating an "international legion" and seeking volunteers from around the world to help defend Ukraine against Russia.

Minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba echoed the call for fighters, tweeting, "Together we defeated Hitler, and we will defeat Putin as well."

There is an apparent good and wrong side to this conflict, which may make it different from previous matches, says former Army officer David Ricardo, now a property manager in Allentown, Pa.

Veteran posts began flooding social media immediately after the invasion. He has been serving as an intermediary for a group called Volunteers for Ukraine, identifying veterans and other volunteers who have important skills and connecting them to donors who can provide them with equipment and travel.

According to Hector, he hopes to train Ukrainians on armored vehicles and heavy weapons.

He noted that many veterans have a calling to serve, and we have trained for this type of war their entire lives. "And you sit by, doing nothing?"

There are countless small groups of U.S. military veterans gathering, planning, and arranging for passports. Many ex-combatants have been serving in smoldering occupations, trying to install democracy in places that only tepidly supported it. They are now calling for a righteous war against an autocratic aggressor with a conventional army and many targets.