SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A local Marine combat veteran has signed up and is now preparing to head out to join the fight in Ukraine.
For Eddy Etue, 36, the news coverage of the Ukraine violence is hard to take in. He recalls seeing one man detailing the death of his wife and child.
“The emotion in his voice, that hit me really hard,” Etue said.
His own emotions have led him to a decision.
"I'm in a unique position to really help because it's the right thing to do, as cliché as that sounds," Etue said. "It's the right thing to do."
Etue, a Marine veteran who saw combat during a seven-month deployment to Iraq in 2007, signed up online on Tuesday to enlist in Ukraine's 'Foreign Legion.' He would be joining some 20,000 foreigners who have volunteered to fight. Etue served in the Marines from 2005 to 2009.
“They are fighting tyranny over there," he said. "I think it's important for people who are also eager to do that here, go over there to help them."
The fight against tyranny is one his family knows well. His grandparents lived in Soviet-occupied Hungary.
“The oppression got to a point where my grandparents just decided we have to get out of here with four kids in tow, with nothing but the clothes on our back and our documents,” Etue said.
His family's history is close to his heart. Etue, who is single, says he's prepared to sign an unpaid, three-year contract and will stay as long as he's needed. His combat experience will help, but he knows the fight in Ukraine will be daunting.
“It would be unhealthy not to be afraid," Etue said. "This is worse than I experienced, absolutely and without a doubt."
Etue says almost all of his family and friends have supported his decision. He started a fundraiser to raise money to buy protective gear and other supplies.
If that goes well, he hopes to be on his way to Ukraine within a week or two.
"I understand there is a dangerous element," Etue said. "If we don't do anything, it will continue to be dangerous, and people will continue to be injured and die."