By John Crump, republished with permission from ammoland.com
A few weeks ago Louis, a 24-year-old combat veteran of the Afghan War, was sitting at home watching the news and saw a story from Iraq that reported on ISIS, an evil organization that was destroying what his brothers-in-arms had worked so hard to secure. The daily reports of atrocities began weighing heavily on Louis. Louis hoped that the U.S. would confront this evil in the same way in which they stopped the NAZI reign of terror during World War II. However, Louis felt that the U.S. was not doing enough. If his own nation would not do something, Louis decided that he needed to get into the fight . . .
“I couldn’t sit back and watch what was going on in Iraq. I just got out of the Marines in December, and when things started popping off especially in Iraq, I knew I had to go and do something. We left Iraq too early, and it didn’t adjust to peace time too well.”
As a man who is strong in his Christian faith, Louis spent time praying, doing research, and thinking about his options before coming to a conclusion. He had to help these people even if he had never met them.
“This is what I wanted to. The Iraqis didn’t deserve to suffer like that… especially with someone like me who has the mental aspect, the physical ability, and the mind set to do something. I was willing to go. I had the ability to do something, so I had the responsibility to do something.”
Louis explains that he cannot understand why there is not more outrage about what is taking place in Iraq.
In reaching his decision to travel to Iraq, Louis left behind his parents, his brother, and his girlfriend. His girlfriend did not understand his motivations. “She didn’t like it. We agreed to take a step back from the attachment thing. If things work over here, we will continue with our future,” Louis noted. His parents are more understanding.
“They knew how strongly I felt about it. They knew I was going to do what I thought was right. I have always been like that.”
In his research, Louis had found a group on the internet that was in need of people to fight against ISIS. He had a group to join, but Louis needed to figure out how to get to Iraq.
“I left the country for Germany as a tourist. Once I got to Germany I applied and was granted a visa to travel to Kurdistan. I would tell people I was a member of the press” Louis explained. “Once I got to Kurdistan, I didn’t end up joining the original group.”
Louis, ultimately, joined the Dwekh Nawsha, which is a Christian Militia that is fighting alongside the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga is the Kurdish army. Upon arriving to Iraq, Louis was taken to a safe house, where he has been living with about 6 other American veterans.
“We live together about a 40 minute drive from where the fighting is taking place. Right now our legal status is up in the air. We are going through a legal process so nothing we will be doing will be illegal. Hopefully, that will come through in the next couple of days.”
Food is supplied, but everything else is paid for by the fighters themselves.
“We don’t get paid. Other than food everything comes out of our pockets. We purchase out own firearms and ammunition,” Louis explained. “I brought my personal ammo. The militia uses its funds on ammo, among other things. The donations I get I use to help supply ammo and more weapons.”
According to Louis, the militia is getting by on whatever it can get.
“The AK’s, PKC’s, RPK’s, all come from different places, some Russian, some Chinese, and some Hungarian. Mostly older… we need more equipment. Weapons are in demand,” Louis noted.
With a country torn apart by violent fighting, weapons are hard to come by.
About 40 minutes from the front line, Louis waits. He is pulling guard duty and waiting for his legal status to come through so that he can start to fight against the murderous group of ISIS.
He is frustrated by the long wait, stating, “I want to do everything legal. My legal status should be cleared up in a week. Until then I pull guard duty and train as much as I can. We have internet at the safe house, and I have a prepaid internet SIM card, but we lose power a lot.”
Louis has been to the front line, which he describes as being a lot like World War I. “It is a long static line with no man’s land in the middle.” For now Louis is only observing mortar fire being exchanged as well as heavy machine gun fire.
“My AK wouldn’t reach them,” he explains. “Only thing that will hit them if they don’t push up on us are mortars and heavy machine guns.”
The locals are happy to have the militia there to defend them from the ISIS. “The local population loves us; they treat us well,” Louis explains. The Kurds have been a longtime ally of the U.S. and are a semi-autonomous region in Iraq. The Kurds have a functioning democracy and mostly live in peace. Even during the height of the Iraq war, the region was peaceful, and an American was able to walk down the street without fear.
“People get up and go to work. They go shopping and go about their lives. Life goes on even though they are 40 minutes away from the fight,” Louis notes.
The Kurds are fighting ISIS to a stalemate even though the Kurds are in dire need of equipment. The U.S has not and will not give the Kurds weapons to use in the fight against ISIS. While ISIS is fighting with captured U.S. equipment, the Kurds are fighting with old Soviet- era weapons.
Louis plans to be in Kurdistan as long as it takes.
“If things are going really well, I go home in a year. If things are still going the way they are going now, I will be here until it is over. I feel like it is my duty,” he finishes. Louis is dedicated to the fight and plans to be in Iraq for as long as it takes.
The enemy flag can be seen flying on the front lines, but Louis and the Dwekh Nawsha do not plan to back down.
Louis finished the interview with this message, “These people are counting on us to help them. I cannot abandon them. No one deserves what ISIS is putting these people through. It is just evil. Just pure evil. I will do whatever it takes to defeat this evil. It shocks me there is not more outrage at home. I only hope that my country starts to help the people here whether it be direct action or by supplying the people fighting ISIS.”
Louis and the other fighters are depending on donations. Louis has started writing the names of the people who have donated to him on his ammunitions that will be used to fight ISIS. He tells me that the militia badly needs medical supplies. There is a test package being shipped to make sure packages will be able to reach the militia.