(Editor’s Note: The people at Task Force Yankee reached out to us concerned about a couple of media reports that had insinuated or flat out accused them of being a company that hired mercenaries to fight in Ukraine. There are various non-government organizations in the US and Europe right now trying to help Ukraine with medical supplies, humanitarian aid, and other means to resist the invasion by Russia. We agreed to publish a response by TFY by Seth Hopper who is the organization’s, Chief Operations Officer. You can learn more about Task Force Yankee at their website or on Facebook.)
Task Force Yankee has recently become aware of two separate news articles. One was written by Jay Reeves of the Associated Press, and another one has recently surfaced on a website called mailbd.net. There are several inaccuracies in both articles that we would like to address.
In the article by Jay Reeves of the Associated Press linked here
This AP article was also picked up and run on Politico
It is stated incorrectly that Task Force Yankee has placed more than 190 volunteers in combat slots and other roles. This is inaccurate reporting, as Task Force Yankee (TFY) does not place volunteers in combat slots. Harrison Jozefowicz refuted that statement, stating “At no time did I ever say that. What I said was the verbiage we use for the volunteers. We do not place people in Direct Action roles”.
What TFY does is offer what we feel are qualified individuals safe passage through Europe into Ukraine. Once in Ukraine, volunteers have the option of finding work on their own or staying with TFY in a humanitarian position. Should those volunteers decide that they no longer want a combat role, because they have already been vetted through TFY, we can then offer them a spot assisting with the movement of humanitarian supplies, or helping with medical training.
The reason why people are vetted and cleared prior to volunteering is to ensure that we are not sending people with serious criminal backgrounds or patterns of misconduct into an area with minimal supervision. We do our best to ensure both former military and civilian volunteers are vetted to the full capability of TFY. This includes but is not limited to; verifying proof of service, characterization of discharge, and even requesting that the potential volunteers run a background check on themselves and submit it for review.
In this same article, for clarification purposes, it was reported that a former U.S. Marine was killed in action while fighting in Ukraine. While TFY offers condolences to the surviving family of that former Marine, we need to clarify that at no time did that individual contact TFY, request to volunteer with TFY, or in any way affiliated with TFY.
The second article that recently appeared is on the website mailbd.net, which picked up the Politico republishing of the AP article and assigned this headline to it: “American Task Force Yankee Mercenaries Take Part in the Battles of Ukraine”
Further correction is required here, as the news website incorrectly describes Task Force Yankee as a mercenary group. There is not and has never been a combat arms element that is attached to Task Force Yankee. While many of our volunteers are former military and we do look for volunteers with a military background, the reasoning for this is not for a combat role. TFY is staying in austere living conditions while working in a country that is currently under attack; whether that is a direct fire or airstrike/missile strikes on civilian targets. We prefer former military due to the fact that they are familiar with working in hostile and uncomfortable conditions, as well as are familiar with working as a team.
One other thing on this is that by definition, a mercenary is someone who is paid to fight. Anyone that is directly attached to Task Force Yankee is not only NOT fighting, but they are not paid either. All members of TFY are strictly volunteers, spending their own money to assist in efforts to help Ukraine.
Task Force Yankee provides medical supplies and humanitarian supplies throughout the country; this consists of food, water, clothing, blankets, and various medical supplies. Task Force Yankee has not received nor transported any types of firearms or ammunition to anyone within Ukraine. This is simply not our area of expertise, nor do we have the desire or capability to do so.
Task Force Yankee: Ukraine
Chief Operations Officer
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