South Carolina man killed in action in Ukraine | Latest titles
A South Carolina man serving as a medic in the Ukrainian army was identified by his commanding officer over the weekend as one of two Americans killed in action last week.
Luke “Skywalker” Lucyszyn, a 31-year-old Myrtle Beach resident, died on July 18 in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine after being knocked unconscious by an artillery strike and shot by a Russian tank, its commander, Ruslan Miroshnichenko, writes on Facebook. The State Department confirmed the deaths of two Americans in Ukraine on Friday, but did not release their names or further details. Family and friends have confirmed reports that Lucyszyn was one of the men who died.
Miroshnichenko identified the other American as Bryan Young. Further information on Young was not immediately available Monday.
Thousands of foreign fighters, many of them Americans, have joined Ukrainian forces fighting Russia since its February 24 invasion. Some of the volunteers are hardened veterans of other wars; others have little or no military experience.
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Lucyszyn’s longtime friend Trey Kober of North Myrtle Beach said Lucyszyn left for Ukraine in early April after telling close friends he felt a responsibility to defend the homeland of his late grandfather. -mother.
Lucyszyn volunteered to take the place of another man who needed to be with his family, Kober said.
“I was proud of him,” Kober said in an interview Monday. “He picked the man up and he immediately started teaching the others because some of these guys had never held guns before, had never loaded ammunition into magazines.”
Kober, 40, befriended Lucyszyn during a paintball class in North Carolina 12 years ago and took on “an older brother role” for the young paintball instructor. The two spent their weekends camping in the woods and playing multi-day paintball matches with friends. Lucyszyn then worked as a police officer and was a father of two children.
Two weeks before his death, Lucyszyn said goodbye to Kober in an emotional Facebook post after learning his platoon would soon be sent to the more dangerous Donbass region, where Russia has concentrated most of its firepower. bombarding towns and villages, in its assault. on Ukraine.
“He was pretty confident he wouldn’t come back,” Kober said. “He sent us a serious message that he was being sent to the front lines to relieve a platoon that had been there for a long time, and he just said, ‘I can’t believe this. This is it.'”
Although Kober knows his friend could die in battle, he said nothing could have prepared him for the shock he felt when he heard the news.
Lucyszyn’s parents, Kathryn and George Lucyszyn, said the State Department informed them of their son’s death in a phone call Tuesday. Residents of Calabash, North Carolina, said they tried to talk their son out of serving overseas, but he insisted it was his calling.
“He didn’t go there to be a hero,” Lucyszyn’s mother said Saturday in an interview with NBC News. “He went there because he wanted to help people.”
Schoenbaum reported from Raleigh, North Carolina. Associated Press writers Julia Rubin in New York and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
Schoenbaum is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/H_Schoenbaum.