A U.S. Army veteran and police officer resigned from the Chicago Police Department to head overseas and join a group of Americans volunteering to train Ukrainians in combat as the Russian invasion drags on.
According to a WGN report on Monday, former CPD cop Harrison Jozefowicz submitted his resignation shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 so he could join other Americans in a volunteer fighting force known as Task Force Yankee: Ukraine.
“This shouldn’t happen to anyone, and I know there are a lot of like-minded people here with me who feel that same way,” he explained to WGN via a video call. “This war has only been going on for two weeks since Russia officially crossed into Ukraine, and it’s just phenomenal to see all these people coming together and knowing pretty much what has to get done and getting it done.”
Jozefowicz said he has been helping prepare Ukrainian civilians and other volunteers for battle.
“It’s very surreal when you see it,” he said. “We just had a day of training with the Georgian legion. They are completely volunteers just like us, and they’ve been here since 2014.”
The former Chicago cop said his group of American volunteers is also supporting the local community.
“There was a bombing nearby that killed nine people and wounded about 60 others, so we sent some medics to go help out at the hospital with that,” Jozefowicz said.
“These people are just amazing because we’re not seeing a group of people who are running away from their homes,” he continued. “These people are here and they’re defending their cities and their livelihoods and their business and families. It just makes you want to keep digging deeper.”
Jozefowicz said the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that left 13 American troops dead was a factor in his decision to travel to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
He said his family supports the move, despite not understanding it.
“They support me, my family, they support,” Jozefowicz said. “They don’t fully understand because this is 100 percent volunteer, but they’re seeing what I’m doing. I’m telling them, so they’re getting more supportive, so it’s not too bad.”
Jozefowicz said he just wants to see peace back in Ukraine.
“You would have thought you’d never see this kind of conventional warfare ever again,” Jozefowicz said. “But here we are.”
Jozefowicz is one of many Americans who are risking their lives to help Ukrainians combat the Russian invasion. Nashville-based Aerial Recovery Group, a global emergency management nonprofit, is helping facilitate the evacuation and fostering of “as many of the thousands of Ukrainian orphans as possible” in a mission dubbed Ukraine Orphan Rescue.