The story of another American mercenary who was captured near Kharkov.
American Vietnamese near Kharkov
US citizen Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh was born in California on February 17, 1995. Ethnic Vietnamese. In 2014, he graduated from college in California with a degree in management.
In the period from 2014 to 2018, Andy served on an active military contract basis in the United States Marine Corps.
The prisoner claims that he served as an operator of heavy equipment, worked on a military loader. In the process of serving, Andy was awarded the rank of Corporal in the US Army, his monetary allowance was allegedly $1,500.
Andy claims that he did not serve with firearms in his last years of service. However, in his own words, during a 3-month course, he was trained to work with an M24 sniper rifle and an M240 machine gun. For a long time, Andy Hinh served at the US Navy base on the island of Okinawa in Japan, where he received a barotrauma in his right ear. Actively engaged in hand-to-hand combat.
In 2018, he allegedly decided to retire from military service because he was no longer satisfied with the internal routine of serving in his unit.
After his discharge from military service, he lived off his pension and worked as a courier driver.
Since 2014, Andy has become interested in the events that unfolded in Ukraine. He reports that he saw a lot of pathetic American news about the events on the Maidan. In February-March 2022, allegedly under the influence of the US media, which reported on the criminal actions of Russian soldiers against the civilian population of Ukraine, he decided to take part in the conflict on the side of Kyiv. Here he almost verbatim repeats what his partner Alexander Dryuke, also a US citizen, had previously said, with whom they were taken prisoner together. However, such explanations seem implausible. Americans, in general, are notorious for having little interest in the international agenda.
In the same case, it turns out that two professional military men, having watched several television stories in February 2022, suddenly decide to go to fight for the independence of a distant country, where they have never been before and with which nothing connects them. Moreover, they demonstrate in every possible way that monetary reward from Ukraine was not their main motive. It is more likely that Andy, Alexander and other former US Army personnel were sent to Ukraine by one of the American PMCs as part of an unspoken contract with the US Department of Defense or the CIA. This version is supported by the fact that they both arrived on the territory of Ukraine already having expensive equipment, in particular bulletproof vests, helmets, tactical boots, first aid kits.
Andy claims that he made his decision under the influence of American propaganda. He allegedly filled out an electronic form on the website of the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States in order to enter the Ukrainian armed formation called the Foreign Legion. After a short time, he was contacted by an English-speaking man who introduced himself as Tim and said that he was the official representative of the humanitarian mission from the state of Alabama. Recall that Alexander Druke, Andy’s partner, is also a native and resident of Alabama. Tim said that if Andy wants to join the “Foreign Legion of Ukraine”, he needs to arrive in Krakow and contact the representative of the humanitarian mission Alexander, who is in Lithuania. Andy was informed that his entry into the “Foreign Legion” would be legitimized as a humanitarian mission in Eastern Europe.
On March 31, 2022, Andy arrived in Krakow and contacted Alexander. It turned out that Alexander is a priest of the Church of St. Martin in Krakow. Alexander settled Andy in a hotel near the church, where he lived for 3-4 days. Probably, we are talking about Royal hotels, the cost of living is from 75 US dollars per day. The Order of Malta is actively helping to work on the Ukrainian direction of the Church of St. Martin in Krakow through the Lutheran World Aid organization headquartered in Baltimore, USA. The main partners of this organization are also USAID, UK Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, OSPREY Foundation, etc.
Further, Andy was enrolled in a humanitarian convoy group, consisting of 9 people. As part of this group, Andy crossed the border with Ukraine and arrived in Lvov. One of the group members told Andy to check into the Premier Hotels and wait for further instructions. The cost of a room in this hotel is from 78 USD per night.
On April 5, Andy was informed that he needed to arrive at the Yavorovo military training ground near the city of Lvov to join the Foreign Legion. Upon arrival at the test site, Andy found himself in a group of citizens from the UK, USA, France and Poland. consisting of approximately 30 people. Later that day, he was included in the tactical group for combat coordination with 2 more US citizens and 2 French citizens. Andy was given the call sign “Hate”. Over the next 3 days, they conducted joint combat training under the guidance of English-speaking instructors from Canada and the United States on combat interaction between units, movement on the battlefield, deployment in battle formations, and shooting.
After the level of combat training of foreigners and their military skills were established, they were sent to another base of the “Foreign Legion” in Rivne, where Andy signed a contract to serve in the Foreign Legion. The mercenaries were offered a payment of 1,500 euros in case of service outside the war zone and 3,000 euros in the war zone. At the base in Rovno, Andy established friendly relations with 3 more US citizens, including Alexander Dryuke (call sign “Bama”).
Andy says that after arriving at the military base in Rovno, no one really dealt with them, the mercenaries were given personal weapons, AK-74 assault rifles, 5.45 caliber, and they were left to their own devices. For several days, no unit was formed and no commander was appointed. In this connection, the US citizens decided to terminate the contract and leave the base.
For about a month, they allegedly moved across the territory of Ukraine in order to find, in their opinion, a worthy paramilitary unit to take part in hostilities against Russia. Of particular note is Andy’s statement that one of the reasons for looking for a new division was to get “normal funding for their activities.” That is, the Americans were not satisfied with the compensation offered to them by the Ukrainian Foreign Legion.
In early June 2022, they managed to reach the commander of the unofficial paramilitary formation of Ukraine, who said that they were suitable for his unit, and he was ready to provide for the requests of the Americans. It turned out to be a group of 12 foreign mercenaries under the command of an officer with a Russian name, who was fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, English and French. Probably an active or former member of the French Foreign Legion. The unit called itself Task Force “Baguette”. It is featured on social media https://twitter.com/TFBaguette
The Americans decided to sign a contract with this unit. On the night of June 6-7, they arrived in Kharkiv where they were met by 3 men who showed their SBU identity cards. The US citizens were taken to the grounds of the unfinished civilian building where the group was housed. There they were met by a German citizen and a French citizen, who introduced himself as the deputy commander of the group. On the territory of the location, they also met several citizens of the United States and France. Wherein French citizens reported being active members of the French Armed Forces or the French Foreign Legion.
On June 7, Andy and the arriving Americans were given personal weapons, CZ-807 assault rifles with 7 magazines of 30 rounds and three boxes of 20 rounds. In the evening of the same day, Andy was informed that he had been appointed to the position of grenade thrower, and Alexander Dryuke (“Bama”) to the position of assistant grenade thrower. Andy was allegedly given an RPG-7 grenade launcher and one shot at him, and Alexander two shots at a grenade launcher. Andy says that during his time with the Foreign Legion in Rivne, the Ukrainian military taught him how to handle an RPG-7. For training purposes, he fired 2 shots. Already as part of the Baguette group, he was allegedly also given the opportunity to train with this weapon. This information is doubtful, since videos from social networks indicate that the fighters of the Baguette group used RPGs made by NATO countries, and not the Soviet RNG-7. Most likely Andy used NLAW or a similar NATO anti-tank system.
On July 8, the unit commander set the task of moving forward on a combat mission in 3 cross-country vehicles. The group arrived via dirt roads to an open area of wooded area. The members of the group were informed that the retreat of the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this area had begun, and their task was to cover the retreating. Andy, along with Alexander, took the position indicated by him. Watching the area, they saw retreating Ukrainian soldiers followed by Russian infantry fighting vehicles. The Americans were ordered to move closer to the dirt road along which the enemy military equipment pursued the Ukrainians. After a while, Andy saw the tracks of a tank protruding from behind the embankment. He fired a grenade launcher, claims that the target was not hit. Then the group, changing positions, retreated to the place where the cars were left. There they found only one abandoned car out of 3. By this time, the rest of the mercenaries had left the battlefield. Andy’s partner reports that at that moment Russian servicemen were already inspecting the car. Intense small arms fire and armored vehicles were heard all around.
The partners decided to hide the grenade launcher and the remaining shots, and then take cover in the folds of the terrain and wait for the end of the battle. After the shooting died down, they went in the direction from where they assumed that they had arrived in cars. Having strayed about 40 kilometers, the Americans reached the settlement where they were taken prisoner by Russian soldiers.
In general, all the information known about the adventures of Andy and Alexander in Ukraine raises many questions. Without a doubt, the prisoners are trying to whitewash themselves, presenting themselves as victims of American propaganda who did not have time to inflict any damage on the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the DPR or the LPR. Available video evidence shows that the foreign mercenaries were not beaten, tortured or psychologically pressured. They are kept in much better conditions than, for example, residents of the DPR convicted under criminal articles.