A former U.S. Army staff sergeant left his job and family in Connecticut to fight in Ukraine against the Russian invasion and is documenting his experience on Twitter, including the aftermath of a Ukrainian attack that he said destroyed seven Russian tanks.
On Thursday, James Vasquez, 47, posted video of a town that he claimed had been occupied by Russian troops for a month before Ukrainian forces arrived, “liberating” the civilians.
“This village has been Russian occupied for a month, they terrorized the people and took their food,” Vasquez wrote. “Today we entered, took out 7 tanks and countless Russians thus liberating these people.”
In the video, a man who appears to be Vasquez says, “Now I don’t know if you guys know what this is behind me, but that’s a Russian tank.” The man behind the camera then shouts, “Welcome to America!”
The veteran also tweeted video of what he claimed were four Russian tanks that were “taken out” by Ukrainian forces.
“For those of you correcting me on tanks. I know some are armored vehicle[s]. Just did not want to get into semantics but [here are] some tanks to make you feel better,” he wrote.
His latest tweet, posted early Friday morning, shows a group of Ukrainian soldiers with rifles slung across their backs listening to training conducted by Vasquez and a soldier from the United Kingdom.
“Myself and a UK soldier regularly hold training on our down time. Tactical maneuvers, first aid, etc. they are eager and fast learners. It’s really an honor to be fighting with these fine men,” the tweet said.
On March 23, Vasquez shared an image of a decades-old grenade, highlighting the dated equipment being used in the conflict.
“Look at this relic of grenades we use. This is an RGD-5. This is a 1950 era grenade. Still does the trick,” he wrote.
Vasquez’s wife Tina told DailyMail.com that her husband – who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan – has military service in his DNA.
“It’s in his DNA, and he approached me, came to me after work, and said, ‘We need to talk, I can’t watch this on TV, I need to go help these guys,’” she said.
“Go ahead, just make sure you come home,” she recalls responding. “This is what he needs to do, and I need to support him.”
“It’s been a struggle for me, worrying every day,” she continued. “He tries to call me when he can, but sometimes he can’t and my mind goes a little worried. I’m super proud of my husband, he’s my hero and he’s met a lot of great people over in Ukraine.”