It has been over a year since I wrote the first article about being a modern-day mercenary, and since then I have spent some more time making my way through this dark and secretive industry. So I thought I would shed some additional light on it for you guys. The more time you spend in this life, the more you begin to understand the merc way of life and its attractions. It’s no secret that war has always attracted young men to leave their lives back home and head for a foreign land. Today is no exception. With conflicts occurring all over the world, the choice is really yours: Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Nigeria, Yemen, and Mexico are just a few places where you can go to fight.
But what happens when the conflict you’re in ends? What’s a mercenary’s next move? Sometimes, when the war ends for these guys, or things slow down, they start searching for other opportunities. That usually involves finding new ways to make cash. Some people will go the right way, but others will choose bad routes. I’ve heard stories of some guys running guns in Ukraine as a means to make money. I mean, they were killing bad guys, taking guns, and moving them around to the highest bidder. Not that long ago, there was a French guy caught by the SBU while trying to move explosives back to France. His claim? They were meant to “blow up the Muslims and Jews.”
This is what can happen when a guy spends too much time getting shelled: His brain just stops working. Sometimes people set up racketeering and extortion rings with local businesses to fund their organizations. Most of the guys do that sort of thing to afford new kit, but we all know the top guys are rolling in it. The other option for an out-of-work mercenary is to change locations. I have seen a lot of guys out here talking to guys in Syria, and the guys from Syria and Iraq want to come over here. It’s like transfer season in football: people and groups talking and switching teams. But in the last year we have seen more and more mercenary groups pop up all over the place, especially in Iraq and Syria, because there, groups receive the most limelight. Still, we’ve seen a group begin working on the U.S./Mexico border in efforts to tackle drug smuggling and human trafficking. The Arizona border recon these guys have set up seems to be working, and appears to be staffed with all the right people. They are sharing information with the border force and have even received praise from the locals.
Last year brought the rise of STTEPS International in Nigeria. They did an outstanding job pushing back Boko Haram. Their contract was cancelled due to a new government coming into power, but this was short-lived. As STTEPS pulled back, Boko started to take ground again, and STTEPS was asked to help out once more. A guy I know whose friend was on the new contract told us they were each making 15,000 Euros a month. My friend Ste, who was out in Ukraine with us, was offered a job with them, but he thought the orange dots on Skype are just missed calls, not messages. Safe to say he missed out.