It’s no secret that Special Operations Forces guys want to be where the action is. Their focus may change at retirement, but that desire never really disappears.

Dr. Aaron Epstein, a surgeon in Buffalo, New York, used to work in national security and counterterrorism. In 2015, as a medical student, he founded GSMSG  (Global Surgical Medical Support Group)

Dr. Epstein (fourth from left) with a group of his GSMSG volunteers.

According to the organization’s website, its mission is:

“Providing the highest quality medical care and training in austere settings overseas as well as responding to the COVID 19 pandemic within the United States.”

Last week, Dr. Epstein received a letter from Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, saying, “We would ask for all possible cooperation from GSMSG in the field of medical/surgeon training.”

Without delay, Epstein had a team of 10 GSMSG volunteers wheels up and on their way to the war-torn nation. One of those volunteers was a newly-retired US Army Special Forces Sergeant from California. The American ex-SF volunteer has chosen to remain anonymous.

An 18D, maybe? One can only assume, and I never assume anything, but yeah, probably an 18D Special Forces Medical Sergeant. They are some of the finest first-response/trauma medical technicians in the world.

The Big Question: Will He Be Armed?

During an interview, a local TV reporter asked Dr. Epstein if the team would be armed. He replied:

“I’ve told them that they can be armed if it’s starting to look like where they will be is going to be a hostile combat area.”

We’ll check that answer off as a “yes.”

He was also asked:

“If they are going to come under fire, can they return fire?”

Not a bad question.

Epstein’s answer:

“Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.”

In addition to sending the team, GSMSG has translated the US military’s Tactical Combat Casualty Care Course (TCCC) into Ukrainian and posted it online.

You can check out a free version of that handbook (in English) for yourself if you’d like:

The goal of making the document available in Ukrainian was to enable more citizens to take better care of their own.

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Becoming a Member of GSMSG

Not just anyone with a medical background can deploy with GSMSG. Volunteers must be in top shape. The same condition that active duty service members would be expected to be in.

Epstein was concerned about keyboard warriors who might show up in Ukraine out of shape, with no military background and looking for a fight.

Regarding this possibility, he said:

“If these idiots run into a combat situation, get killed, and suddenly Russians are killing Americans. I mean, I don’t think they understand that like this could literally start World War III. I mean, I think that a lot of people don’t understand what’s actually at stake when they just want to go shoot some people. I mean, it’s insane.”

Chances are, the good doctor and I would get along just fine. He has personally led more than a dozen deployments of medical and surgical personnel to provide surgical services for affected populations in combat zones in the Middle East.