The Only American Fighting for Ukraine Dies in Battle

By Simon Ostrovsky
Mark Gregory Paslawsky, the sole American fighting on the Ukrainian side of the war in the east of the country, died from injuries sustained in battle in the town of Ilovaysk on Tuesday.

Known by the codename “Franko,” the 55-year-old investment banker was a Manhattan native, and had a slight limp and a pronounced New York accent, making him seem an unlikely candidate for a soldier in an eastern European war that has already claimed more than 2,000 lives.

VICE News interviewed Paslawsky in early August in the Luhansk region where he had been deployed with the volunteer Donbas Battalion. He said he decided to take up arms against the separatist Russia-backed rebellion because of his family’s Ukrainian background, as well as the frustration and helplessness that came with watching news reports on Ukraine’s deteriorating situation after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Paslawsky worked in the financial sector and was based out of Kiev, Kharkiv, and Moscow for many years before he joined the Euromaidan protests that gripped the Ukrainian capital last winter. Most recently, he was an independent investment advisor.

“Given what I saw, the level of incompetence, the corruption, the lack of activity — I just decided that I needed to go and participate. If there was ever a time to help Ukraine this was the time to do it,” he told VICE News.

After graduating from West Point, Paslawsky served in the US Army Rangers until he was 32 years old.

Oleg Nikitin, Paslawsky’s friend and former colleague at Avec Holding in Kharkiv, told VICE News: “He didn’t have the patience to sit and watch the chaos that was happening [in Ukraine], and as a professional soldier, he didn’t need much training and was in good physical shape. He made the decision to join up conscientiously.”

Read more at Vice.com

92 year old Veteran Dancing at Veterans Office

RIP Robin Williams, Comedian and Friend to Veterans Everywhere

Robin Williams, the famed comedian and actor, died on Monday at age 63.

He had a remarkable career, and was one of the funniest people of all time. But beyond his career of making people laugh — one of my favorites being his role as Vietnam-era radio personality Adrian Cronauer — his response in 2007 to troops in Kuwait who basically turned their back on him is one worth remembering.

Williams was there for a USO tour for the soldiers, most of whom were either headed to Iraq or supporting combat troops already there. In the middle of a bit, Williams — and the thousands of troops in front him — hear a trumpet sound.

It was “Retreat” — a signal to those soldiers that the American flag was being taken down at the end of the day. At its sound, the custom is to face the music, stand at attention, and salute. In this case, Williams is left on stage, watching thousands of soldiers turn away from him…

Read more at Business Insider

Know Your Rights – Police Checkpoints

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg_vF6NOWCo

Have you experienced driving through a police checkpoint? In the first episode of the new original show, Know Your Rights, we give you the inside scoop on how to exercise your 4th Amendment rights. Watch the video and share your experiences with police checkpoints in the comments!

Read more at Voices of Liberty!

Ryan Pitts on the Medal of Honor: The ‘real heroes’ are the nine men who died


The ceremony was over and former Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts, the nation’s newest Medal of Honor recipient, walked toward the microphones set up in front of the West Wing, his pants bloused over his black boots and the nation’s highest award for combat valor draped over his chest.

“The real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” Pitts said quietly, a reference to the nine soldiers who died defending Observation Post Topside beside him in the summer of 2008 in Wanat, Afghanistan.

“It is their names, not mine that I want people to know.”

“Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling,” he read, and in an homage to Chosen company of the 503rd parachute infantry regiment, added: “Thank you. The Chosen few.”

Pitts did not take any questions Monday, and as he walked away, a reporter inquired, “Is that it?” For Pitts, 28, of Nashua, N.H., it was.

A half-hour earlier Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama for his actions on July 13, 2008, when he single-handedly defended his observation post from an attack by more than 200 Taliban militants. The citation recounts his courage under withering enemy fire, during which he threw grenade after grenade as he slowly bled from shrapnel wounds he sustained from the explosion of rocket-propelled grenades.

Read more at the Washington Post

Copyright © 2014 · VeteranTimes