I came back to Ukraine on March 12, originally to write for an American outlet that covers defense related news. I wrote four or five articles in the first week but then it just started to seem so frivolous; I didn’t want to be an observer. People who I knew from previous visits, who are now in the Ukrainian military, asked me for help. They thought, because I am a former U.S. Marine, that I was representing the U.S. government, no matter how often I said that I wasn’t.
My first experience of combat as a Marine was in Mogadishu, Somalia in the ’90s and then subsequently I was in the first Marine division during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. I have completed tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, been involved in the evacuation of civilians from Libya in 2011 and commanded a special operations task force against the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016.