Question/Answer interview with Sean from Cullman. Sean, a retired United States Marine Veteran, left Cullman in mid-March to help fight the war in Ukraine. His experience in fighting in Iraq and his love for helping others led him to the call for Ukraine. 

“I got sick and tired of it on day 10 of the war. This guy (Vladimir Putin) is the second coming Hitler. If it were a war where it was uniforms against uniforms, I would probably say have at it, but he is seeking the Army guys out; he is killing anyone, and the Ukraine government needs our help,” said Sean

Warning: Some of the questions/answers, and graphics in the photo gallery could be disturbing. 

CDN: The mainstream American media has a narrative to push about the war, but right now, you have the opportunity to speak to Americans unfiltered. So, from your perspective, how is Ukraine standing up against the Russian invaders?

SEAN: I’m not too sure about the media as a whole, there are always different factions and different agendas, so I could speak of the American left media and the right, but I’d probably just be stating the obvious; that Americans, by in large, tune into the news they want to hear, or at least the spin on the news that they prefer. I think nothing else taught us that more so than the last presidency.

If, however, I was to opine about the Ukrainians and their resistance to the Russian invasion, it would be this; they will not give up, they will not surrender, they will not relinquish control over the freedom they enjoy to a pseudo-soviet way of life. They understand and know that allowing themselves to be subjugated by their Russian neighbors means to give up the freedom they have known and gotten to love since the absolving of the former Soviet block. They know the minute they surrender and give up unconditionally to the Russians, that life as they know it is over. Ukrainians have always been subjected to a form of racism by the Russians, or perceived inferiority, for whatever reason. Their soldiers, by in large, are a gifted sort. They’re natural leaders and warriors, this has been known and recognized for a very long time, however, they were purposely, and by design, never recognized for battlefield superiority or promotions based on combat performance, simply to ensure that Russian blood maintained leadership in the Soviet military. 

I’m currently garrisoned with several veterans of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 80s. They are superior soldiers. And when I say superior, I mean top-notch operators of the highest order. They will tell me story after story of watching their Russian-born cousins promoted before them and then being asked, or ordered, to ensure their former juniors, now seniors, know how to operate and conduct combat operations effectively. 

So understand. The animosity between these two people’s is long grown and festered. We as Americans live next door to a Chihuahua and a French poodle, respectfully. The Ukrainians have lived next to an ill-tempered rottweiler that has no problem saying how much they hate them and want to kill them for a very long time. They have been ready for this for some time now. What they weren’t prepared for was the way this war was going to be waged. They were prepared to fight but ill-prepared to watch their woman, children, and all vulnerable populations get targeted for execution the way they have been. They were ready for war, not for the state-sponsored and directed, mass terrorism circumstance they now find themselves in. They’re trying to both fight against the enemy and save their most loved from harm, a very difficult situation.

CDN: The video and pictures we have seen are horrible and paint a picture of destruction and chaos not seen in Europe since the end of WWII. How would you describe what you have seen firsthand, and would you agree with the United Nations’ assertion of war crimes being committed by Russian troops against Ukrainian citizens?

SEAN: Ok, so the results at the business end of the war machine. This is the first time I’ve been in a combat zone and witnessed the power and destruction that a superpower can bring against me and my brothers and sisters in arms. This isn’t like Iraq when you deal with a couple of artillery rounds daisy-chained together and buried in the road. This isn’t a 500lb bomb repurposed by the enemy. This isn’t a salvaged and recovered anti-tank mine turned against you. This is real-time aircraft dropping 1Klb bombs on you, one after another. This is a real-time artillery barrage that lasts for 4-6hrs. This is anywhere from 2-6 tanks at a time firing on your position until they run out of ammo. This is 35 cruise missiles, armed with 1000lb hyperbaric warheads, dropping on your position in the span of 10 minutes, literally turning the air into fire. This is real, no shit, superpower armament being brought to bear on your position. It’s a lot different than anything I’ve ever experienced before because I’m the one used to calling that kind of hate down on the enemy, not being on the receiving end of it. But like all combat, it’s a surprise at first, hell, it shocks the shit out of you, but strangely enough, you get used to it. You get used to hunkering down on in your well dug defensive position. You get used to telling what incoming rounds are dangerous and others that will overshoot you or land off to the side. You get used to the enormity of a really big explosion, and you learn to tell the difference between an aircraft on a bombing run and the sound of an inbound cruise missile.

The thing you never get used to, though, is what all this firepower does to the landscape, what it does to once quaint and peaceful neighborhoods, what it does to playgrounds and schools and apartment buildings. And you never get used to knowing that families died in a structure, a house, or a car unceremoniously painted with a red “V” to let you know children were killed in the attack on this vehicle. What you never get used to and find yourself struggling with is the question, “who does this?” “What kind of animals are these people?” And you very soon realize that there is no honor in this army. As a US Marine, you find solace in the fact that you are warrior against warrior, soldiers on the field of battle, engaged in combat, and in the search and fight for victory. There is non of that here. The Russians will destroy a town. They’ll target housing, schools, hospitals, gas stations and grocery stores, markets, and shopping malls. And then, when you bring your force to bear against them to fight, they turn and run away, full retreat, into the next town to do the same thing. When the Russians manage to occupy a town for a period of time before the Ukrainian forces can run them out like the vermin they are, they’ll round up all the men and tie them up and shoot them in front of their family. If there’s a woman/girl between the age of 8-60, they’ll rape her in front of her family. When they’ve all had their fun, they’ll execute the husband or father in front of their eyes. They’ll walk down the street and murder people and children that are walking by or playing in their front yards. And then, once they’ve destroyed the town and all its infrastructure and support, leave toys, food and water, or cans of gasoline, all booby-trapped with explosives. All this in an attempt to further terrorize, maim, and kill the civilian population. I’ve seen firsthand a doll with just enough explosives to remove a child’s arm and not kill them, and that’s by design.

On a personal note, I thought the Iraqis were bad with their use of human shields and use of women and children as suicide bombers. But this is a whole new level of savagery and brutality, all because the Russians consider themselves a superior race of people who are doing nothing more than exterminating and punishing an inferior race of people for not bowing down to their rule and accepting their kind being subject to authoritarian dominance.

Sound familiar??? I’m not one to beat the Nazi drum; in fact, I think the term is thrown around way too loosely these days. We saw that in the last administration too. That term has been dumbed down so much that here we are, faced with the actual thing, and nobody says anything. 

Are the Russians guilty of war crimes? You’re damn right they are. From the lowliest private who’s the rapist and murderer to the NCOs and officers who oversee the actions on the ground, and all the way up to the generals ordering the action, and ultimately the single man in charge of this whole atrocity writ large. They’re all criminals of the worst sort, guilty of the most despicable crimes, and they deserve to pay for their crimes. Ultimately God will sort this out, but here and now, they need to be stopped at once, and wholesale brought to justice; our justice, God can have them when we’re done with them.

CDN: Americans of all walks of life are standing in solidarity with and supporting the Ukrainian people. What do you want the average American citizen to know about the war that our government is likely hiding from us? With you being an American citizen, in your opinion, what could the United States government do to help the citizens of Ukraine and end this war with Russia?

SEAN: I don’t know if our government is hiding things. I don’t know if they can. The coverage of this war, and all the horror that’s been a part of it, has been fairly well covered. What I’d like to know is this; Why are we not honoring the promise we made to these people when they agreed to give up their nuclear weapons back in the early 90s? They had nukes for the same reason we have them; deterrence. Strength, and peace, through mutually assured destruction. We swore to them, however, if they gave up the nukes, that we would assure them their safety and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I mean, we’re America, right? When we say we’ll protect you, you want to tend to believe us. It’s not like we can’t.

We’re the most powerful country on the planet, for now at least. All of that is being threatened, their people are being murdered wholesale, and what have we done? What has the world done? Condemn Russia’s actions? Place sanctions on the Russian people and government? Take a couple of rich people’s big boats? For real, the people who are responsible for all of this are untouched and doing just fine, perhaps even better off! People like that are always better off when we try to hurt them, they’re always prepared for it and have contingency plans because we do the same thing all the time, so they’re ready for it, and probably, they’re even making money off of it!! 

Why is our government so eager to fight a war in some places where reason can be questioned easily. But when you have a clear and present situation akin to David and Goliath, true good versus evil, we find the American war machine handicapped and as skittish as a whipped dog. That’s the question I’d like to ask the shot callers; We just finished 20yrs of war against an enemy who was happy to die, in fact, looked forward to it, in a country that hates us, with a population that either didn’t care or wasn’t smart enough to understand the idea of freedom we were trying to help them find! And ended it badly, I must say, and all for what? And you want to tell me that was more justifiable than protecting the woman and children of Ukraine who actually WANT our help! At least in Iraq, we got to see everyone with inked fingers, signaling their vote, especially the woman, who had never got the chance to participate before. There was some semblance of accomplishment with that, but nothing in Afghanistan, nothing. And now, all of a sudden, we have cold feet. Now we’re scared of a war. It’s unbelievable that those in charge can sit by and watch what’s happening from the sidelines and still sleep at night when they have the power to stop this within a matter of days. Days! That’s all it would take for American forces to vaporize every trespassing Russian in Ukraine, and it probably wouldn’t take a single pair of the feared “boots on the ground.” Hell!!! Let the Ukrainians be the boots on the ground!! They’re already here!!! Turn our airpower loose on these Russian pigs and wipe them off the face of the earth!! Lord knows I’ve done my part. Get with the program, people!!

CDN: We have heard of horrific acts of violence against women and children. What, if any, have you witnessed?

SEAN: I’ve personally met a woman in Bucha whose husband was Ukraine national guard. He was given leave to go home and visit his family in Bucha. When the Russians started moving into the town, he and his wife grabbed their little girl, loaded the car, and headed for the hills. His vehicle with him, his wife, and 6yo daughter was stopped, searched, and when they found his uniform, they tied his hands and brought him and his family back to his house. They tied him to a chair, removed his eyelids with a knife, and then 20-something men raped his wife in front of him and his daughter over and over again for about 3 days straight. 

Once they tired of his wife because of her resulting injuries, they put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I’m not going to repeat what they did to his daughter. I just can’t. Her small size protected the front of her body, but not the back of it. His wife and daughter needed stitches to repair the physical damage. These are the monsters, and that is what they do. There is a very special place in hell reserved for these animals, and I hope and pray they find themselves there as soon as possible.

This is Elana, the gurl who was married to the National Guardsman, and her Daughter. They can actually smile. This is the strength of Ukraine, personified in a woman and her daughter.

CDN: While you took it upon yourself to suit up and help Ukraine on your dime, what can we do to help you?

SEAN: This question is tougher to answer than you might think. I was following God’s voice here. When I first decided to come, he was screaming in my head. His voice got quieter with every action I took that brought me closer to leaving. When I finally sat down in the seat of the plane that would carry me to Poland, his voice went silent, and my heart, mind, and soul were at complete peace. Every step of my journey, I’ve been guided and looked after. I’ve felt a sense of protection since I’ve been here that’s unexplainable. In my heart, I know everything is going to be ok, and at no point did I think I would ever get any help on this mission, mostly because I thought I didn’t need it, that whatever I needed, the Lord would provide. Up until now, that’s been the case. This trip has cost me money. Getting the required equipment was expensive, airfare was expensive, and for the first month I lived here, I was constantly moving from safe house to safe house, eating on the road, and paying for gas and hotels if we needed to. It cost me $1000 for the legal paperwork to be a foreigner that could carry a weapon off the front lines, and because I wanted a rifle that worked, I had to buy one for three times what it would have cost me in America. I even had to buy my own ammo because the ammo given to me was so substandard it was useless. But I had the money to commit to this, so I just did, without question or concern. 

I anticipated this costing me, but little did I know someone was on a fundraising mission for me the whole time. I had an idea he might try and help out, but he made it his mission that while I was here on mine, he’d do his best to make it so that I wasn’t taking on a financial burden by doing this. The citizens of Cullman and people on Facebook have been very generous, but if there are still people willing to contribute, their contributions will be very much appreciated. There’s no shortage of instances here when I can contribute to the welfare or well-being of someone in need, and my expenses on the ground are ongoing. So please, if anyone wants to contribute, get with my wife and whoever she suggests, and It will be available to me here to continue what I’ve been able to do so far. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, and thank you to anyone who does in the future. This is an honest mission, I’m a man of integrity, and I’m here doing God’s work.

CDN: Understanding that you can’t disclose your exact location, what has been your experience in combat with Putin and the Russian soldiers?

SEAN: I have to tell you, I’m not impressed. I actually had some semblance of respect for the Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban, ISIS too, in a way. They actually fought, fought hard really. Compared to them, the Russians are a bunch of clowns. Whenever we engaged them in a firefight, they always devolved into chaos. It’s their undoing in each engagement. The thing is, here in Ukraine, we’re the insurgency. I’ve found myself leading my team into conflict using some of the same tactics that made my enemies in Iraq so effective. We set up ambushes and eliminate their leadership first shot, and then all the Russian troops lose their minds and either run to us or away. In each instance, we pick them off or pursue and eliminate them one or two at a time. The vehicle drivers drive with their heads out. There have been plenty of our victims.

We’ll halt an entire line of vehicles with anti-armor munitions by hitting the first and last vehicles, stalking them cold. They travel so close no other vehicle can maneuver out of the column. Then we’ll start firing armor-piercing rounds into the vehicles, and the soldiers will file out like fire ants out of a kicked over mound. We just take them out one by one, no prisoners. No prisoners because they never surrender. They just run, weapon in hand, so we do what we came to do.

So, all in all, my feelings are that this is not the number 2 military in the world, and if it ever actually was, it hasn’t been for a while. Russia has ruined their reputation with this invasion. They’re a bunch of cowardly criminals of the worst sort, with garbage, poorly maintained and functioning equipment, shooting ammunition that only detonates a fraction of the time. We rolled into a neighborhood that was out under heavy artillery barrage for about 6hrs. The people collected several likes of unexploded shells we’re the size of trucks each like. We estimated that only a quarter to a third of the shells functioned as desired. As I said, this is a crap army with crap equipment, crap ammo, and crap personnel.

CDN: How long do you plan to stay on this tour?

SEAN: How long do I intend to stay? A couple more months, at least. Then I want to come home and spend time with my family. I miss them, and they miss me terribly, I know. I can always come back if I hear that voice again. I know I’ll be very welcome, and I know exactly how to travel this time. But we’ll see. Maybe the world will get off the couch and put a stop to this. I’m praying someone takes a stand before even more tragedy strikes this wonderful country and these wonderful peace and freedom-loving people.

Please send Cullman Daily a private message if you would like to contribute to Sean and his family.