Cody Heard: US Army veteran leaves to train Ukrainians, says 'doing it for my kids'
Cody Heard, an Army veteran, is headed to Ukraine to assist in the war against the Russians. It is a decision he made because of his children. After seeing news of the invasion and "seeing small children getting hurt," the 28-year-old former infantryman told the New York Post, he had decided to volunteer. Heard, who retired with honors in 2018, lives with his wife, Amanda, and their two daughters.
"I started thinking about my kids. I was thinking, if I was in that position, would I want someone else coming over and helping us? Absolutely, yeah," said Heard. So he's preparing to fly to Ukraine with a group of other veterans in the coming days, leaving behind his family and a job with Amazon in Little Rock, Arkansas, to assist the Ukrainians in their fight against Russia's troops.
"I think it all goes back to being an American and being a patriot," he said. Heard, who served in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and the Arkansas National Guard, has no combat experience but received live fire training and learned how to launch missiles during boot camp in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2012. Heard stated that he was unsure whether he would see action in Ukraine.
"Mainly our mission is to help train civilians so that they have more of a chance to defend themselves," he explained. "And also helping people get out, to get to safety. And we will be doing some reconnaissance. None of us really want to engage but we will defend ourselves or others if we have to."
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Heard served in the Army with a guy from Ukraine who had recently arrived in the United States. "He was in my unit and he’d fought the Russians before. Then he went back home. So when Russia invaded, I felt like my brother was under attack. In the infantry, we live by a very close bond. But there was nothing I could do. Then I saw civilians were being targeted." Heard even started using Facebook to connect with other vets.
He stated, "They were volunteering. We had a Skype meeting a day or two after the invasion. They told me, 'We’re flying to Poland and then we’re going to cross over into Ukraine.' I’m part of two groups now. One of our guys is there now — Harrison. He’s an off-duty Chicago police officer."
According to Zelenskyy, more than 3,000 US residents have applied for a force that already has 16,000 foreigners. "The reason I feel like we’re doing the right thing is that in this conflict, there really aren’t two sides," volunteer and former Army infantryman Henry Hoeft told the Columbus Dispatch. "There’s bipartisan support for the Ukrainian people and support across countries. For me, that’s evidence that we’re doing the right thing."