Ukraine looking for experienced combat medics

Ukraine looking for experienced combat medicsBy LAURA QUEZADA

News Review Staff Writer

They don’t want anybody that will get in the way, this is not some romanticized European vacation.

Commander Bill Manofsky, U.S Navy, Retired, speaks from experience and current involvement as he addresses the notion of volunteering in Ukraine. He does not want people romanticizing the idea of joining in combat. He tells us, “They’re looking for combat medics who have dealt with bullet wounds, amputations, real wounds of war in multiple tours. That’s what they want. The bottom line is: Anybody else will just get in the way. They don’t want anybody that will get in the way.

What they’re looking for are people who’ve done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in urban environments, kicking doors down and clearing houses, that’s what they’re looking for - somebody who’s done that type of experience.”

The Commander is a Cold War veteran, had Top Secret Security Clearance and “sat through many briefs about Russian military capability and espionage techniques. I was attached to Special Forces Intelligence at the start of the Iraq War, I basically helped launch the Iraq War. I am still attached to Special Forces contractors who are now retired that I used to serve with. We are all talking about the Ukraine War. Two weeks ago I met with the military attache at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington DC after doing significant investigation on how to insert people into Ukraine to help fight the war.”

Things have changed since Zelenskyy first put out a call for volunteers. They now have a website: “They’re being a lot more selective than you think,” the Commander says. “That kind of gave the wrong impression a lot of people with romantic notions thought that they would go over and have this neat little adventure in Ukraine and record their exploits. And that is not what is happening at all. Initially on their website, they said either go report to your local embassy in your country or go to Washington DC to the Ukrainian embassy, where you’ll be interviewed. Or they suggested to go to one of two customs stations at the Ukrainian border with Poland.” One of the customs stations has Hotel Cicada “with a phone number and everything.”

The Commander called that phone number and started talking to people and asking questions. “At the time they had a Colonel there that was basically interviewing everybody. I finally got through to talk to somebody who spoke English and I was actually even put in touch with one of the American volunteers who literally took a lot of his money to fly over to Warsaw and take the train down and then meet with the Ukrainian military people that were screening people on the Polish side of the border. His name is Kevin. He is ex-Special Forces, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and he was waiting a week to be picked up. Kevin told me that this is a tiny little hotel - essentially a truck stop. At the time there were 100 guys sleeping on the floor in the place.

They have since changed the instructions to show up to the Ukrainian embassy in your country to be interviewed. You might be sitting there for six hours waiting to talk to somebody in Washington DC. The attache that I talked to said of 3000 applications they’ve only accepted 100. The bottom line is this: This is not some romanticized European vacation. Civilians are being massacred right now.

They have a training facility between Leviv and the Polish border that was bombed. Thirty-five were killed, we don’t know how many Americans, and 134 were injured. I don’t know if Kevin was one of those because I’ve been trying to get a hold of Kevin and after two days his phone went dead. I don’t know if he’s wounded or killed or what but I can’t get a hold of him anymore. He was the only American on the ground that I could talk to find out what was going on.”

He says of this war, “This is not Iraq. Or Afghanistan either. Basically they had AK47s and RPGs. But the Iraqis and the Afghans didn’t have air cover, they didn’t have many tanks, but any if there were any tanks we just blew them up. And here in Ukraine they’re going up against mechanized infantry with peer support and heavy artillery. There’s constant bombardment all day long. A lot of volunteers are quitting.”

Police officers and EMTs will not be recruited for combat duty. The Commander says, “There is an organization out of Lithuania called Blue and Yellow that is literally supplying the Ukrainian military with helmets, flak jackets, MREs - whatever they need. That would be a very good place for them to go.” For those with an EMT background he suggests, “Go to Warsaw and help with the 100,000 Ukrainian refugees that are holed up there. They need medical support.”

The Commander tells us, “I was a DOD (Department of Defense) civilian that was activated as a reservist and volunteered to become military deputy for the Weapons Division. In 2003, I volunteered to go to the Iraq war where I was combat disabled. I spent the remaining 17 years in Ridgecrest. Most of which was spent in physical therapy.”

Laura Austin File Photo: Commander Bill Manofsky, U.S Navy, Retired

Story First Published: 2022-04-08