East of Kyiv, Ukraine: Ryan Hendrickson, former Green Beret, Silver Star recipient and best- selling author of Tip of the Spear, is on a new mission in Ukraine- to clear landmines and boobytraps to help Ukrainian civilians return home safely.
Who is Ryan Hendrickson
Hendrickson was an 18 Charlie (or 18C) with the Army’s elite Special Forces. An 18C is an Engineer Sergeant whose responsibilities include demolitions, explosives, field fortification, and a host of other dangerous tasks like clearing land mines.
In April of 2020, Hendrickson released Tip of the Spear– a detailed account of his harrowing journey through the military. He spent years with the U.S. Navy, Air Force and finally the Army Special Forces.
On just his first combat deployment with the elite unit, Hendrickson inadvertently stepped on a landmine, nearly killing him and completely shattered his leg.
The Army told him he would never serve again and wanted to remove his leg and medically retire him. However, a special team of doctor’s approached him with an experimental medical procedure to save his leg but advised him it would be long and painful.
After 18 months and dozens of agonizing surgeries, Hendrickson fought his way back onto the SF teams and conducted an additional 8 deployments as an 18C demolitions expert. Now he has a new mission and wants to help civilians avoid the agony he went through after stepping on a landmine.
The Mission in Ukraine
Hendrickson has raised money over the last several weeks in order to take on another mission- to use his demolition experience to help Ukrainians return home safely by clearing land mines and boobytraps.
He is currently on the Ukrainian battlefield, east of Kyiv preparing for missions and took the time to speak to LET, via text messaging (the signal was not strong enough for a call) to give updates on this dangerous and critical humanitarian mission.
LET wanted to know is how it’s going so far and is it what he expected?
Hendrickson told LET:
“So far the training is good and we start landmine removal work tomorrow [Aug.12th]. We take artillery but most is not accurate. As far as what I expected, I think my years as a Green Beret prepared me for this mission as I’ve worked with partner forces all over the world and the basics never change.”
Another area of curiosity involves the civilians. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have been displaced due to the Russian invasion.
According to Hendrickson, some are starting to return. He stated:
“Where I’m at, there are not many civilians. Slowly, people are starting to come home which is why clearing these mines and boobytraps are so critical. For the people coming back to rebuild their lives, you can see a sign of shock but the drive to rebuild and move on is strong.”
As an American, it is heartbreaking to watch international footage of innocent civilians suffer from an unjust war. That’s partially what fueled Hendrickson to volunteer. He has the real-world experience and didn’t want it to go to waste. He knows he can be of service to others.
But what are his plans exactly?
Hendrickson tells LET:
“This week will be one of landmine and boobytrap removal. Getting to areas where civilians are requesting to move back to and getting them safe passage, along with distinguish danger areas [for civilians] to stay out of until more resources and personnel are available to continue the clearance.”
Like any armed conflict and warzones, resources are typically scarce and critical to success and life in general.
When asked what resources he needed to continue, Hendrickson stated:
“Most units here are in critical need of military grade mine detectors like the CEIA and mine removal equipment. We have basic and outdated equipment, but we have been able to adapt to most situations in order to accomplish the mission safely.”
LET is praying for the innocent people of Ukraine and the safety of Ryan Hendrickson as he helps the local populace. His mission will carry on for the foreseeable future and as far as funding will allow.
How You Can Help
In addition to Hendrickson’s Venmo fundraising campaign, LET has partnered with Robert Garland, CEO of Fund the First and created a new fundraising campaign to give any donor the opportunity to contribute and help Ryan’s mission in Ukraine.
The funds will help Ryan acquire additional metal detector equipment to clear landmines and boobytraps as well as additional resources to help him and the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians’
And you can donate to the mission by clicking here.
Fund the First is the only crowdfunding website designed strictly for the law enforcement, first responder, military, medical and education community. All campaigns are screened to ensure they are legitimate.
Who is really helping? Firearm and ammunition industry in America is answering Ukraine’s call to arms
Posted: May 12, 2022
America’s firearm industry is proving again that it is the arsenal of freedom. U.S.-based firearm, ammunition and accessories manufacturers are answering Ukraine’s call-to-arms to defend itself against the Russian unprovoked invasion.
NSSF has been on the leading edge of this response, working with officials from Ukraine and the United States to facilitate firearm and ammunition donations to repel the Russian invaders.
Ukraine’s defense has mired down Russian attackers, repelled them from that nation’s capital city of Kyiv and are inflicting tremendous casualties on Russian forces. That is happening as U.S. firearm and ammunition makers are sending small arms and ammunition to supply Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy famously refused an offer from the United States to evacuate his country as Russian forces closed in on Kyiv. Several assassination attempts on his life, and that of his family, were thwarted. President Zelensky stood strong, recording a message for the world.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride,” he said.
That was enough to spur the firearm and ammunition makers in the United States into action. Two days after President Zelensky’s call for munitions, Ammo Inc., announced the company would donate 1 million rounds of ammunition for Ukraine to defend their country. Less than one month later, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence confirmed it received the million-round donation.
“This is a wake-up call for America, and why we have to have our Second Amendment… To see the people in Ukraine fighting — it’s terrible to see the lives that are being lost over there,” explained Ammo Inc. board member Richard Childress to Fox News.
Vista Outdoor, and their ammunition makers Federal, Remington, CCI and Speer, announced their own donation of 1 million rounds on March 8. Vista Outdoor noted that Ukraine was a long-standing ammunition customer and how critical it is for America that the Second Amendment exists to protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.
“It underscores how critical the Second Amendment is in America and highlights the importance of the ability of American Manufacturers to supply our allies with ammunition,” said Jason Vanderbrink, President of Remington, CCI, Speer and Federal Ammunition in a press release.
“We have long supported Ukrainian armed forces and we will continue to do so in this global cause to unite for democracy.”
Several NSSF members privately donated ammunition to Ukraine’s defense, particularly those companies that previously imported Russian-made ammunition before sanctions went into effect banning all imports.
NSSF learned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is so concerned about Russian ammunition being shipped from the United States to Ukraine, he not only seized the 115 containers for the April shipments to the United States, but he also stopped shipments of primers and powder from Russia to some of his closest ties from the former Soviet Bloc.
Putin fears Russian-made ammunition will be donated to Ukraine and sent back to his forces at about 2,350 feet-per-second.
Vista also launched relief efforts to raise funds for those Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion. Federal and Remington are selling Ukraine-themed t-shirts. All profits from the sales go to refugees in the war-torn country. The shirts will supplement the company’s donation and maintain awareness of the need for global support of Ukraine.
It is not just boatloads of bullets. Arms makers are stepping up too and NSSF is helping to make those donations easier. NSSF published an alert to member companies of the needs submitted by the Ukrainian Embassy.
That includes everything from 7.62×39 mm cartridges for AK-47s to complete sniper rifle systems and the state-of-the-art night vision and thermal optics that go with them. That was met by donations that are still coming in.
The Biden administration announced that 7,000 small arms would be included in an $800 million aide-package that was announced in March. One major firearm manufacturer informed NSSF that the Department of Defense is reaching out to major industry companies to secure small arms and ammunition for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.
In fact, the Pentagon posted a Request for Information for arming Ukraine with everything from small arms to drones to heavy weapons systems.
That does not mean gun makers are on the sidelines waiting.
Adams Arms, a Florida-based firearm manufacturer, has already shipped 1,000 rifles to Ukraine and plans to donate at least 1,500 more. They also designed and sold their own t-shirts recognizing the bravery of the Ukrainian forces that rejected Russia’s call for surrender of Snake Island.
All proceeds from that sale will go directly to the Ukrainian National Bank’s war funds. Just a week ago, Adams Arms, along with six other U.S. manufacturers, announced it is donating 10 state-of-the-art, semiautomatic sniper rifle systems along with ammunition to the Ukraine Ministry of Defence.
The rifles, optics and ammunition are valued at more than $80,000.
Contributing manufacturers include Leupold and Stevens, supplying optics and mounts; Rise Armament, supplying triggers; Radian Weapons, supplying charging handles and safety selectors; Luth AR, supplying adjustable buttstocks; and Hornady Manufacturing, supplying ammunition.
Adams Arms President Jason East said, “It goes beyond altruism or corporate responsibility. As Americans, we cannot allow the kind of aggression Russia has brought forth in Ukraine. What’s that old saying? The only thing evil needs to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Well, we are doing something.”
KelTec donated 400 semiautomatic rifles to Ukraine. Adrian Kellgren, KelTec’s director of industrial production, made the decision after KelTec was left with an unshipped order worth $200,000 of 9 mm foldable rifles from a long-time Ukrainian customer who became unreachable after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kimber Manufacturing, Inc. donated 200 handguns and 20 rifles to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kimber provided 200 R7 Mako 9 mm pistols with 800 extra 13-round magazines, 10 Advanced Tactical rifles in .308 Win., and 10 bolt-action rifles in .308 Win.
Mission First Tactical donated holsters for the Kimber’s R7 Mako pistols and Tactical Rifle Cases for the long rifles. In addition, Mission First Tactical also donated 3,300 AR-15 magazines and 1,000 AR-10 magazines. Leupold & Stevens, Inc. donated 20 Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10×40 rifle scopes, that were installed on each of the 20 Kimber rifles.
Own the Night
American Technology Network Company (ATN), a manufacturer of night vision and thermal vision products, announced it is shipping 9,000 night vision and thermal optics devices to assist the Ukrainian military against the Russian invasion.
“ATN has committed to making an unprecedented effort in this endeavor and is committed to shipping these units in the shortest time. Night optics are critical to the successful defense of Ukraine from the Russian invaders, and we are confident this will be a large step in improving the capabilities of the Ukrainian forces in the field,” said ATN Founder and Chairman Marc Vayn.
Suppressor-maker Silencer Central, of Sioux Falls, S.D., is considering how it might be able to assist. Owner Brandon Maddox saw NSSF’s alert on how firearm manufacturers could assist Ukraine and while his company does not make rifles or ammunition, he sees a small, but quiet role for Silencer Central.
“One of the specific requests from Ukraine was suppressors, silencers,” Maddox said. “Sometimes when there is inner-city fighting and if it’s inside, noises are louder, so by having a suppressor shooting indoors it could bring it down where it is hearing safe, so whoever is actually doing the shooting it’s not going to blow their ears out,” Maddox said. Maddox also noted that suppressors eliminate muzzle flash, making them effective for night fighting.
Maddox said company officials are exploring avenues for the company to send suppressors to fit onto Ukraine’s rifle.
These voluntary efforts by U.S. firearm, ammunition and accessory makers demonstrate the importance and the value of a strong firearm industry, not just dedicated to protecting American freedom and Second Amendment rights, but those who are forced to defend freedom around the globe.
Numerous veterans went to help Ukraine.
U.S. Marine veteran who had plans to become a police officer in America has died fighting in Ukraine
Posted April 30, 2022
Willy Joseph Cancel, a U.S. citizen and Marine Corps veteran, has died fighting in Ukraine.
Former Marine dies fighting alongside Ukrainians; Widow calls him a 'hero' https://t.co/LF4tuPqME5
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 29, 2022
Widow Brittany Cancel commented to Fox News that,
“My husband did die in Ukraine.
He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life.
My husband was very brave and a hero.
I did not expect to be a widow at 23 years old or for our son to be without a father.
All I want is for him to come home, and to give him the proper burial he deserves.”
BREAKING: Relatives say a former U.S. Marine has been killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in war with Russia. Rebecca Cabrera said her son, 22-year-old Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company. https://t.co/5NgXvv8YIz
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 29, 2022
Cancel continued that,
“Prior to wanting to help the effort in Ukraine, he was a detention officer in Kentucky.
He had dreams and aspirations of being a police officer or joining FDNY.
Naturally when he found out about what was happening in Ukraine he was eager to volunteer.”
Willy Joseph Cancel joined the Marines and served from 2017-2021.
He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and served as a rifleman.
Cancel was then hired by a private military contracting company in addition to working full-time as a corrections officer in Kentucky.
When the war started, the contracting company requested volunteers to go to Ukraine and assist and Cancel decided to go.
22-year-old Willy Joseph Cancel is the first American who was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian forces.
He leaves behind a 7-month baby and a wife. "It was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us," his mother saidhttps://t.co/VjZ8MLMltB pic.twitter.com/VpXPUBjKe3
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) April 29, 2022
Rebecca Cabrera, Cancel’s mother remarked:
“He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it.
They haven’t found his body.
They are trying, the men that were with him, but it was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us.”
BREAKING: U.S. citizen Willy Joseph Cancel was killed in Ukraine while fighting alongside Ukrainian troops against invading Russian forces, his family confirms to @ABC News. https://t.co/fLWXAt2tQ0 pic.twitter.com/HaQJ8L6ksH
— ABC News (@ABC) April 29, 2022
The State Department has not confirmed Cancel’s death.
They have stated that they are aware of the intelligence and are monitoring the situation but won’t comment due to privacy issues.
A U.S. State Department official stated:
“We once again reiterate U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.”
The Marine Veteran leaves behind his wife Brittany and his 7-month-old son.
At this time, Cancel is said to be the first U.S. citizen to die fighting while in Ukraine.