Grim News

US Army Colonel Lucas VanAntwerp was in a meeting with Ukrainian commandos when he received grim updates: a helicopter crash had killed several of their comrades. This tragic news was not isolated; earlier, a tank attack had decimated a Special Forces unit, with enemy control over the area preventing any retrieval of the deceased.

“In those moments, they paused to grieve,” recounted VanAntwerp, former leader of 10th Special Forces Group. “But then it was, ‘Let’s get some food’.”

VanAntwerp admired their stoic reaction. He reflected that if he faced similar losses, it would profoundly affect him for months, involving heartfelt conversations with the families of the fallen.

“This is our daily reality, the Ukrainians explained to him. “There’s a stark contrast between your conflicts and ours. We’re sacrificing thousands. With little else to be done, they had to press on. By August 2023, Ukraine had lost tens of thousands of troops.

Ukrainian Resiliency

Since the onset of Russia’s intensified invasion over two years prior, VanAntwerp and his fellow special forces members have trained numerous Ukrainian commandos in Poland and other locations. The US forces also gained insights, learning about the Ukrainians’ unique resilience and tactical knowledge from European conflict zones that now inform the US Army’s special operations and modernization initiatives.


In July 2021, VanAntwerp assumed command of the 10th Special Forces Group, aiding Ukraine in transforming its operators to align with Western standards since Russia’s initial 2014 incursion.