On March 19, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Platt and his wife were rescued from their home just outside Kyiv, Ukraine.
For two weeks, their small town was taking heavy fire, Platt told Military Times.
“We were running low on food and water before we got out,” he said.
According to Project DYNAMO, the nonprofit group that carried out the rescue, Platt said “he and his wife had to shelter in place as ‘Russian forces looted their neighbors’ surrounding homes while their neighborhood was being mercilessly shelled by artillery with Russian tank battalions blocking their roads.’”
The nonprofit made an earlier attempt to rescue Platt and his wife, however, it was forced to pull back after facing heavy artillery fire.
“Having been on the receiving end of Russian artillery, it puts in painful perspective what the Platt family and their neighbors have been enduring over the last several weeks as Russian troops were literally in their backyard,” Bryan Stern, veteran and Project DYNAMO co-founder, said in a statement.
Platt served in the Army for 22 years and deployed with the 82nd Airborne Division during operations Just Cause, Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After retiring, he and his wife moved to Ukraine.
“I’ve had my permanent residency for 14 years,” he said. “I went on a tour of Crimea and loved Ukraine ever since.”
The couple say they will remain nearby until the conflict ends.
“We are staying in Poland for now,” Platt said. “We want to be close so that we can return and start rebuilding once the war is over.”
Project DYNAMO, based in Tampa, Florida, has rescued more than 200 people from Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 23, and it has no intention of slowing down. On its website, the group has a form that those seeking refuge from the hostilities in Ukraine can fill out.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digital Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.