The Army officer testifying before House impeachment investigators on Tuesday was wounded in Iraq leading infantrymen in 2004 before becoming a foreign area officer specializing in Eurasia.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman earned the Purple Heart, a Ranger tab and the Combat Infantryman Badge, all before he served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a Russia expert when the Pentagon was writing its strategy to compete against near-peer adversaries.
Vindman now serves with President Donald Trump’s National Security Council, and he was subpoenaed to appear before Congress on Tuesday. He testified to impeachment investigators that he twice raised concerns over Trump’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Vindman testified that he was “concerned” after listening to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. During the conversation, Trump appeared to “demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen," according to Vindman’s prepared remarks released Tuesday.
Vindman went on to detail in his prepared remarks how he “did convey certain concerns internally to National Security officials” in accordance with the chain of command.
That command structure, he noted, is “extremely important” to him.
When Vindman was 3 years old, his family immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. It was 1979, and Ukraine was then part of the Soviet Union.
Vindman commissioned into the Army in January 1999 after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University, in New York, according to personnel information provided to Army Times by service officials.
He originally joined the infantry branch, serving in South Korea and Germany before deploying to Iraq in September 2004 through September 2005. He was wounded by an improvised explosive device while there in October 2004, but served out the rest of the deployment.
In 2008, Vindman became a foreign area officer for the Army. He served in this role at U.S. embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow. He also earned a graduate degree from Harvard University around this time.
At one point, he served in Washington, D.C., as a political-military affairs officer for Russia under the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
While there, he said he authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia.
The Army confirmed that prior to his current duties, he served on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon from September 2015 to July 2018.
In the summer of 2018, he moved to the National Security Council in the White House.
Vindman has earned the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
In addition to the Purple Heart, Vindman’s awards include two Defense Meritorious Service Medals; four Army Commendation Medals; three Army Achievement Medals; four Overseas Service Ribbons; a Valorous Unit Award; the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation; the Presidential Service Badge; the Joint Chiefs of Staff identification Badge and a Navy Unit Commendation.
“I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States,” Vindman said in his prepared remarks. “I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations.”
While he said he was concerned about the president’s phone conversation, he is not the whistleblower.
“I want the Committees to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the Committees’ attention,” his prepared remarks read. “I do not know who the whistleblower is and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower."
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq. Follow on Twitter @Kyle_Rempfer