Kurt: What’s your military background?

Mike:
So 2 years in the Marines and 2 years in the Army. I’ve realized I’m young and impatient so everywhere I’m at I’m always convinced I should be doing something better. Got bored in the Marines as a radio guy, so I tried to go SF in the Army and that fell through because too many people going through the current massive pipeline JSOC is having trying to bolster SOF numbers. Ended up leaving 173rd airborne in Italy to go to Kurdistan.

YPG foreign volunteer unit “223”

Kurt: What made you decide to leave and fight ISIS?

Mike:
What got me the idea to be a volunteer was the last deployment in the Army in Turkey. We were near the Syrian border training their “counter-terror” guys and doing base security at a couple compounds in the mountains. That slow realization that the Turks are helping ISIS, and what we were providing training for was COIN ops against the Kurds in southeast Turkey. The local towns were all demographically Kurdish, and the few times we went to the towns I always ended up meeting Kurds explaining what’s actually happening. I was just a poor infantryman who was told all combat deployments are finished. This was around the time the battle for Kobane was big in the news, and I basically spent every night in the mountains staring south over the border realizing I was in the wrong place to be a soldier. So when we got back to home station I did literally whatever I could to get out early without overtly trying to get kicked out. Ended up getting out in April 2015 and within 3 days of being stateside I was boarding a plane for Sulaymaniah. Through the internet, the “safest” route I could find was that group of guys in the Pesh (9th Brigade). I thought why not, then as you know it turned out to be a static shit show.