‘It’s my calling’: US vet assisting forces in Ukraine

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — A military veteran and father is now in Ukraine helping Ukrainian forces in the war against Russia after saying it was his “calling” to go help.

Cody Heard is a military veteran, husband and father. Heard was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2018 but made the decision last month to travel to Ukraine. 

The war in Ukraine has dragged into its second month, with thousands, both civilians and soldiers thought to have been killed. This comes amid the Kremlin facing fresh waves of condemnation after evidence emerged of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine. Heard said the suffering of Ukrainians made him want to go.

“My family, my kids, they live in America, we’re very fortunate to have the protection that we do, and have never really faced an invasion, as Ukraine has. It is a sacrifice for my family,” Heard said on “Morning in America.” “But with the kids getting hurt here and the civilians getting hurt here, I knew with the skills that I’d had from the military for serving that for eight years, I knew I couldn’t just sit at home and do nothing. And, you know, that is ultimately what pushed me here, because Ukraine has a small military force. And they did need volunteers. You know, and it was a hard decision. But ultimately, that’s where my calling is.”

Heard was asked to sign a contract with the Ukrainian Foreign Legion for the length of the war. He instead joined the territorial defense working with the Ukrainian military.

“That was a war-long contract that I was not willing to sign just because I do have my family back home in America. And that, ultimately, is what pushed me back to try to find a different route,” Heard said. “And luckily, through contacts, I was able to find that route, which led me to the territorial defense.”

While Heard has years of Army experience, he said the way he is helping in Ukraine is different and requires more training.

“I’m more with a medical unit. So we go out helping civilians, evacuate certain cities, along with providing medical aid. It’s a lot of training that goes in with this, especially for me, because it is a completely different tactic than I’m used to,” Heard said. “It’s going out on missions to help civilians and people that have been trapped in cities for weeks now.”

Heard said his plan is to stay in Ukraine for three months and then return home to his family.

“There’s always the fear of not coming back home, but, you know, I’m confident myself, I’m confident in the training I received from the military,” Heard said to NewsNation last month.

This interview was edited for clarity and length.

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