Three U.S. Soldiers Are Alive and Safe Despite Russia Report, According to the U.S. Military

by Suzanne Halliburton
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: Members of the National Guard in the plaza in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. After last week's riots and security breach at the U.S. Capitol Building, the FBI has warned of additional threats in the nation's capital and across all 50 states. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Three soldiers from the Tennessee National Guard are very much alive and well. They did not die in Ukraine, no matter what the Russian media might say.

It truly is a case of fake news. After all, there are no active U.S. soldiers in Ukraine. President Joe Biden pulled what troops the country did have in Ukraine in the days before Russia began invading last month. The military wanted no direct confrontation between American soldiers and Russians. Such a confrontation could start a World War.

At a Glance: U.S. Soldiers Very Much Alive

  • Russian media reported that three members of the Tennessee National Guard died in Ukraine.
  • Pravda said that Russian soldiers found a Tennessee flag next to one of the bodies.
  • Three soldiers had been in Ukraine — four years ago. National Guard confirmed all three were alive and well.

The Tennessee National Guard shot down the story.

“The Tennessee Guard is aware of the fake news coming out of Russia,” said Tracy O’Grady, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Guard.

The Tennessee Guard also said in a statement: “They are accounted for, safe and not, as the article headline erroneously states, U.S. mercenaries killed in Donetsk People’s Republic.”

How Did the U.S. Soldiers Go From Dead to Alive?

So how did this news get so messed up? It all started when Pravda, a Russian news service, reported that three Americans soldiers died. The story described the three as mercenaries. It even provided their names and military rank. The Russians added this detail — they discovered a Tennessee flag next to one of the bodies. Pravda said a pro-Russia militia group in Ukraine’s Donetsk region provided the information.

So how did Pravda get the three names? The members of the Tennessee National Guard were in Ukraine. But that was back in 2018 when Tennessee’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment deployed to Ukraine. The Tennessee Guard speculated that the militia must have seen old images of the soldiers.

“All members of the Tennessee National Guard returned safely to their home state in 2019 after a successful mission,” it said.

Last Sunday, Russia did attack a base where American soldiers had been training their Ukrainian counterparts. Russia fired cruise missiles at the base called Yavoriv International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security. The base was only 10 miles from the Polish border.

U.S. Sending Major Weapons to Ukraine, Including ‘Flying Shotguns’

The United States is sending Ukraine weapons to fight off the Russian invasion. Biden approved a list that included 10,000 anti-armor weapons, 800 anti-aircraft Stinger systems and thousands of rifles. Plus, the U.S. added 100 switchblade drones. These also are known as “flying shotguns.” The smaller drones — they weigh about six pounds — first showed up in 2010 in Afghanistan. A soldier can launch them from a tube. Guided by GPS, they can fly for up to 15 minutes in the air. The warhead is embedded in the drone and explodes on impact with the target.

Bloomberg News reported that the Ukrainian military already has a fleet of larger, Turkish-made drones. The soldiers have been using them effectively against the Russians. But the Ukrainians still have a lot of inventory remaining.

Russia began its invasion, on Feb. 24.