New Hampshire Guardsman Volunteers to Join Ukraine Freedom Fighters
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Lifetime New Hampshire resident Sergeant Zach Chivell, 30, has recently volunteered to leave his home and family in Manchester, New Hampshire to join forces with the Ukrainian Freedom Fighters.
I called him "Chevy" like all of our other unit brothers did during our time together. Now many, including myself, will call this New Hampshire small-town soldier a hero.
Chevy is no stranger to conflict doing tours in Afghanistan, Europe, and various places throughout the Middle East during his ongoing nine years of service. His deployments as a squad automatic rifleman and military contractor, where he provided overwatch and Guardian Angel security in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, were not enough.
"Unlike in Afghanistan, the Ukrainian people are standing behind their government, picking up rifles, and... they are giving the Russians one hell of a fight," Chevy said. "I think with a little bit of Western support and adding a few more guns into the fight, the Ukrainians have a real good chance."
With the volunteer application already submitted, Chevy is looking at joining with the Ukrainian Defense Force, which is made up of volunteers from other countries that are willing, wanting, and able to fight for the cause.
According to the Washington Post, "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said that 16,000 foreigners have volunteered to fight for Ukraine against the Russian invasion."
"I feel a moral obligation to go," Chevy said. "We raise our kids to stand up for what is right and to stand up to bullies. It would be completely hypocritical of me to sit here and preach this to my children when I’m watching a bully in real time beat down a smaller nation because it can."
Chevy took his life, military, and deployment experience into account when making his decision to volunteer.
"The catastrophe that happened in Afghanistan really struck a nerve... a lot of us (veterans) felt helpless as we stood by and watched as many of the Afghans that we worked with were left behind and forgotten," he said.
"Next was watching Russia, without care or cause, invade Ukraine," he continued. "To me, this wasn’t just an invasion of another country but an invasion on democracy itself...we are now seeing Russia target civilians and civilian infrastructure which is completely unacceptable."
If accepted, Chevy leaves behind his two children and girlfriend, which has been the hardest part for him.
"The support is kind of a mixed bag right now," Chevy said. "Some people think it’s insane and don’t think I should go fight someone else's war."
I don't think it is insane. I think it is incredibly brave and noble for you to not only stick up for your personal beliefs, but global democracy as a whole.
Good luck, brother. Love you.