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Veteran returns home from Ukraine mission

By C.J. Vetter

KYLE — U.S. veteran Greg Miller is finally returning home after months of volunteering in Ukraine. However, as the war continues, Miller is already planning to return in the near future.

As a former special forces medic, Miller initially traveled to Ukraine to help provide medical assistance to those in need and train Ukrainian forces in first aid techniques. While there, Miller also witnessed firsthand the effects of the Russian attacks upon the city of Kiev.

“The Russians now have the Donetsk area, so next they’re going to go for Odessa, and then they’d have Ukraine landlocked,” Miller said. “Imagine if your whole town was surrounded, and your only option was to give into them and change your passport and become a different nationality, or become a refugee, and that’s if they let you go.” 

In order to leave Ukraine, Miller had to drive four hours to the closest train station, and then traveled 12 hours to Kiev, and then another train would bring him to Lviv where he would finally catch a bus and cross the border to reach Warsaw, where he would then fly back. The day that he finally left was also the same day a Russian missile killed 16 people.

“That’s like saying if the capital of Texas was hit, and they’ve already taken Galveston and Houston, and they’ve isolated us. And then what? They’re hitting the capital, Austin, but in this case, it’s Kiev. And now what? What’s safe?” Miller said. 

His return back to the U.S. felt “surreal” after experiencing the events he had in Ukraine, in addition that the current circumstances surrounding politics and American unity have left things feeling “chaotic.” He has also stated that he is surprised by how little the war in Ukraine is talked about in the U.S.

“I’ve been absolutely shocked since I’ve been here, you don’t even hear about it on the radio or that it’s going on. It’s culture shock for sure,” Miller said. “It was about as surreal as when I went into Kiev. They don’t even recognize a war is going on. I get it, another country’s war can’t be the preeminent news, but it was totally surreal.”

Now back, Miller is currently attending to his business and family. He currently operates a health clinic, and is trying to decompress following his work, but plans to return back to Ukraine as soon as his visa is approved. He hopes that the group he had previously worked with in Ukraine, the international humanitarian aid organization Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), will be able to provide transport back to the war torn nation.

“I feel like I should still be there. I don’t know why, it feels like my job right now. I think this is going to be a lot bigger than what people are thinking. I think this is going to be a huge deal,” Miller said. “Until it’s over, I’m going to have that lingering feeling of not knowing what else I could have done. I know one man isn’t going to change the world, but a bunch of men doing the same thing can.” 

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