The ISIS conflict has attracted a large amount of volunteers to fight on both sides. The limelight has shined particularly on the Western volunteers rushing to the aid of the Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. Rarely do we hear from these men in their own words. A couple of days ago, I caught up with my old volunteer buddy and wanted to get his perspective and reflections on the situation in Iraq and his time spent there. He’s one of the best guys I know. Here’s the uncut interview with Justin.

SOFREP: What’s your name and military background?

Justin Smith. I served in the U.S. Army as an 11B, and spent 15 months in Maysan Governorate, Iraq.

Why did you come back to fight the Islamic State?

I went back to fight Daesh because I was sick and tired of sitting on my ass watching innocents being murdered in the hundreds—women and children included. My breaking point was watching a clip that was labeled “ISIS member kicks Christian baby to death.” I’m not religious in any way, so I didn’t give a fuck about the religion. The fact that this cunt was kicking a baby to death for something it had no control over disgusted and brought out the best in me.

Where did you serve and with whom while fighting against the Islamic State?

I first served in Syria, and then after some time, left Syria and fought with the Peshmerga at their front lines south of Kirkuk. All with volunteers from various countries around the world and locals, of course.

What were some of the biggest challenges in an environment that diverse?