U.S. Veteran Who Volunteered to Fight for Ukraine Describes “Suicide Mission”
NEW: An American volunteer for Ukraine tells The Grayzone how his foreign legion tried to use him as cannon fodder.
A decade after Henry Hoeft joined the US Army at age 18, he was back on the battlefield, but this time as a volunteer for a foreign military engaged in a proxy war against a powerful foe. After answering the Ukrainian government’s call for foreign fighters this February, however, the American veteran quickly decided he was being sent on a “suicide mission” against the Russian military.
After escaping with his life, claiming his own allies had threatened to shoot him in the back, Hoeft posted a viral message advising other Westerners against joining the fight in Ukraine. Within days, he was at the center of a global information war, with the military for which he had volunteered publicly branding him a Russian agent.
It was not the first time Hoeft had placed himself in the middle of controversy. Years before his ill-fated mission in Ukraine, his passion for guns and the Second Amendment led him into the ranks the Boogaloo Boys, an enigmatic militia-style organization that confounds even self-styled extremism experts.
Members of the Boogaloo Boys uphold a staunchly anti-communist, anarchistic perspective that incorporates political positions and symbols familiar to both radical right and leftist movements. They have marched in support of Black Lives Matter, to the obvious discomfort of many liberal social justice activists, and protested coronavirus lockdowns, usually while openly toting assault rifles and sporting the Hawaiian shirts that have become their trademark.
Hoeft was a prominent figure in the Ohio chapter of the Boogaloos and appeared at the Ohio statehouse in Columbus to deliver introductory remarks at an armed “unity rally.” There, he emphasized the group’s non-partisan politics and defended a transgender activist from insults.