Third American missing in Ukraine

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U.S. Marine photo

The wife of U.S. Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi confirms to CNN that he is missing in Ukraine.

Kurpasi served for 20 years before retiring this past November. He volunteered to fight alongside Ukrainians but did not expect to fight on the front lines.

CBS reports he has not been heard from since taking small-arms fire in the Kherson region, according to a family friend.

The State Department previously had identified two other missing Americans in Ukraine, Andy Huynh and Alexander Drueke. The Marines have not confirmed reports that Russian forces captured both men. However a photo emerged of the two men in captivity, but CNN could not confirm when the photo was taken.

Photo Credit: WAAY 31 ABC TV

The U.S. declined to send forces to Ukraine, but some Americans have chosen to go on their own.

“We knew that by going over there and serving for the government of Ukraine, that little to no protections would be extended to us, and that the United States government would be powerless to help us,” said a veteran who talked to CBS but asked not to be identified.

A friend of Kurpasi talked to CNN about his decision to go to Ukraine.

“For him personally, he has a skill set that he feels he can give back,” George Heath said about Kurpasi. “He wanted to go and help the Ukrainian people. He wasn’t really planning on fighting.”

Heath said Kurpasi arrived in the country on March 7 and made it to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on March 21. He joined other Foreign Legion members but stopped communicating with his wife and friends at the end of April. Kurpasi came under fire on April 26 and went to investigate and left the observation post. He instructed the Ukrainians to fire back but disappeared shortly after that.

Another friend, Heeson Kim, said the State Department to him Kurpasi had been listed as missing in action on April 28 because his body had not been found or identified.

Kurpasi had four deployments, including three in Iraq.

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