The New York Army National Guard Soldiers are stepping up and helping Ukraine win against Russia by alloting 140 American soldiers for coalition training. 

These soldiers are reportedly assigned to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. They will do an initial training at Fort Bliss, Texas, before deploying to Germany. 

The troops are set to assist the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine Mission in coordination with the European military. The soldiers are assigned to hold training at the Combat Training Center-Yavoriv. 

The US has previously sent training troops to Germany at the beginning of the war, and the New York Army National Guard soldiers will be replacing the 160 Florida Army National Guard Soldiers from the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s Task Force Gator. 

Other nations are also participating in the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine Mission, including Poland, Sweden, Canada, Lithuania, the UK, and Denmark. 

Ukraine’s Military Roots

According to Adrian Bonenberger, veteran and author of “The Disappointed Soldier and Other Stories From War,” Ukraine is equipped with highly intelligible and strategic military troops. After volunteering for 10 days to help the Ukrainian Ground Forces, he learned that the Ukrainian military has deep roots in their experiences with the Soviet Union. They have generals and junior officers who used to be part of the Soviet army. Because of this, they have inside knowledge of how Russian intelligence works as well as general strategies. 

Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine
Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (Source: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)

Though the Ukrainian forces underwent reform in the starting 1990s, their military system took a huge hit when resources declined. As a result, between 1991 and 2014, their military shrunk and almost vanished. 

So even though they had thousands of logged armored vehicles and tanks, with no personnel to be trained on the equipment, it was useless. 

However, the support from western nations continues to shape the Ukrainian military for the better. Instead of the rigorous Soviet-style military approach, they are tackling the warzones with agility. 

Still, analysts warn nations of directly interfering with Ukraine since this could trigger a potential World War. The US administration has also released a strong statement directly opposing the possibility of the US participating in a world war. 

“We will not fight the third world war in Ukraine,” Biden said. 

From International Support to Volunteers

When the war began, the US and NATO participants made an effort to create a training facility in Germany to help Ukrainians. The Florida National Guardsmen had previously been training Ukrainian soldiers and were the first to return to the field. 

The Department of Defense emphasized US’ fervent support to Ukraine and noted that aside from artillery, they believe training will be a critical aspect of the country’s continued support. 

“The recent reunion of these Florida National Guard members with their Ukrainian colleagues, we are told, was an emotional meeting, given the strong bonds that were formed as they were living and working together before temporarily parting ways in February,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.  

Kirby added that the soldiers on the ground are highly trainable and eager to learn new skills. The trained Ukrainian soldiers are expected to lead the local forces and train them afterward. 

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U.S. Marines and Ukrainian forces, riding in 15 Amphibious vehicles, participated in an amphibious landing operation in Odessa, Ukraine.
U.S. Marines and Ukrainian forces, riding in 15 Amphibious vehicles, participated in an amphibious landing operation in Odessa, Ukraine. (Source: NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization/Flickr)

Aside from military troops stepping in, we also have veterans lending a hand to Ukraine. Just like Perry Blackburn Jr., a retired Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel who served 34 years in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, and Jordan. He said he’s doing it because we all have a common enemy: Russia. 

“To not use my talents in a real time of need would be a waste…At my age, I’ve seen enough death and I want to try to stop the bloodshed. We need to give people the means to defend themselves.” 

There is one highly recognized “crowdfunded military support” in Ukraine called the “Mozart Group,” a moniker specifically chosen to retort against the Russian “Wagner Group.” 

Most of the veteran volunteers said they are stepping up because they feel like the help is still lacking. According to Mozart’s leader, Andrew Milburn, retired Marine Corps Special Operations colonel, they’re circumventing “US foreign policy.” This allows them to do the work while providing “plausible deniability.” 

“We have no communication with the US military, period,” he said in an interview from his home in Tampa, Fla., where he recently returned to resupply before returning to the war zone. “That’s a line they don’t want to cross. They are not going to take any responsibility for our well-being or our actions.”

Whether the training comes from volunteers or official envoys, all-in-all, these cumulative efforts help improve Ukraine’s chances in winning and finally ending the war.