Editor’s Word: The next Op-Ed providing recommendation to American veterans contemplating volunteering to combat for Ukraine was penned by a former Navy SEAL turned CIA officer who writes for us beneath the penname Frumentarius. This recommendation is supposed for these critically contemplating the choice, however neither Frumentarius nor the Sandboxx Editorial workforce encourage veterans to take action. It’s a private choice with doubtlessly lethal implications that needs to be weighed realistically and individually.
As we neared the top of the primary week of combating after Russia’s army invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces seemed to be slowly however however determinedly encircling Ukraine’s major cities, setting the stage for a potential extended sequence of siege operations throughout the beleaguered nation.
Involved residents of the West—and past—have expressed outrage on the invasion, with some calling on social media for the institution of No-Fly Zones over Ukraine, and/or the deployment of NATO floor forces into the nation. Varied European international locations, moreover, in addition to the USA, have been delivering deadly support to the Ukrainians, within the type of shoulder-fired anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles, air protection rockets, small arms, and artillery rounds.
On varied social media platforms in the USA, posts have begun to point out up depicting People touring or desiring to journey to Ukraine to take up arms to defend the nation in opposition to Russia. This idea can be being embraced by the Ukrainian authorities, as on February 28, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced the formation of the Worldwide Legion of Territorial Protection of Ukraine, to be made up of foreigners who need to volunteer to participate within the warfare effort in opposition to the Russian invasion.
The British International Secretary went as far as to state to the BBC that she supported Britons going to combat for Ukraine in opposition to the Russians. No such proclamation has been made by any high-ranking American officers thus far, however that can doubtless not forestall some People from going to combat. The query is, must you? And if you happen to do go, how must you go about it?
In reply to the primary query, that’s for you and your loved ones to resolve, after sober reflection on what it means, and might imply—ought to the worst occur. Everybody should make that selection on their very own, and this writer understands the urge to go, in addition to the reluctance. It’s inarguable that the Ukrainians want the assistance. So far as the “how” to go about it, Navy Occasions editor Howard Altman wrote an article not too long ago addressing that difficulty, with step-by-step directions offered by a Ukrainian authorities official on the best way to apply.
I’d add to Mr. Altman’s article some further steering, which can hopefully help any volunteer considering going to each most successfully assist the Ukrainian forces, and to maintain your self protected within the journey and follow-on operations.
Notify the State Division
First, if it had been me going, I’d inform the U.S. Division of State of my intentions. It isn’t that you’d be asking their permission to go, a lot as making them conscious that you simply (an American citizen) might be there combating.
The State Division will doubtless attempt to dissuade you from going, and that’s nice, simply merely be well mannered and say you’ll take into account their counsel, and stick with it. Simply make certain they know that you’re informing them in order that in case you need assistance later, they’ll confirm who you might be. That speeds issues up fairly a bit. Additionally, allow them to know who your contact is in Ukraine, and/or what Ukrainian army unit you’ll be serving with. This once more would possibly assist you to if you happen to want help down the street.
This isn’t about you
Secondly, in case you are decided to go, be skilled, accountable, and practical in your expectations. Observe the Ukrainian authorities’s recommendation about the best way to formally register, and don’t go there telling them the place and the way you need to take part within the combating.
They’ll place you in no matter capability they want you, and wherever they want you most. You aren’t Rambo, there to single-handedly slay Russians and submit your selfies. You can be a part of a army machine that’s beneath excessive stress, and you must seamlessly combine into that system to be an efficient a part of it.
Now, if you don’t take the official Ukrainian-provided route by way of registering with the Ukrainian embassy, and also you select to go in by yourself, then you might be exposing your self to rather more danger and must due to this fact train rather more warning. I don’t advise you’re taking this route except you will have important coaching and/or expertise in working with international governments and militaries, intelligence liaison work, or on-the-ground covert motion.
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Have a plan
That warning however, if you happen to do go that route and fly your self into Poland, for instance, with the concept of crossing the border with Ukraine into Lviv, then making your strategy to the entrance, you will have to have a plan.
It is advisable to pack up your individual gear and clothes for the length, make your strategy to the border, and hyperlink up with the precise Ukrainians. Ideally, you should have organized this earlier than arriving. This can guarantee you will have somebody guiding you into the nation who speaks the language and is aware of the territory. They’re additionally ideally army or intelligence educated and might get you to the entrance safely, via Russian strains, and with out being killed by both enemy or pleasant hearth.
You doubtless gained’t be capable to deliver weapons
Moreover, it’s unlikely (although not inconceivable) that you’ll get your individual weapons into Europe, so additionally, you will want the contact to provide you with a weapon, ideally with regardless of the Ukrainian forces are utilizing. That is to each mix in and in addition to make sure ample provides of ammunition can be found.
If it had been me, I’d need that weapon the second I departed Lviv to go to the combating, in addition to a Ukrainian uniform. The bottom line is to mix in and never draw consideration to your self from Russian forces.
Be humble and respect Ukrainian authority
While you arrive in your assigned theatre of operations, both with an official Ukrainian escort, or after you will have made your individual means in, it is rather vital that you simply do what the Ukrainians want you to do, and fall beneath their operational management. In the event that they want you to work provide strains, then do it. In the event that they want you to assist with fight drugs, then do it. In the event that they want you to hold a Javelin and goal Russian armor, then do it.
Don’t go there with the concept that you’re an impartial operator, looking for glory and to kill Russians. You ought to be going there to defend Ukraine, to assist the Ukrainians, and sure, in service of that aim, to presumably kill Russians. Keep humble and grounded. Take the Ukrainian lead on what they want from you. You’re a volunteer, in their nation, serving to in their warfare. Act prefer it. That every one mentioned, combat like hell and make America proud.
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Depend on your coaching
Lastly, it could be irresponsible of me to not elevate this level: in case you are captured by the Russians, and you’ve got SERE coaching, or another POW coaching, bear in mind it and use it. Should you wouldn’t have such coaching, I counsel you examine up on-line earlier than you go, and see what is predicted of captured People.
You can too observe the lead of somebody who does have the coaching in the event that they occur to be captured with you. Understand that you might be handled as an unlawful combatant, and the Russians will doubtless maintain you as a pawn, to be exploited and made right into a propaganda instrument. Don’t dishonor your self or the nation, and maintain tight till we are able to get you out.
God velocity if you happen to select to go, and God be with Ukraine.
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