US Veteran, Family Rescued From Ukraine By Fellow Veterans: ‘We Don’t Leave Our People Behind’

by Suzanne Halliburton
Serhii Hudak/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Members of Project Dynamo sneaked into Ukraine and rescued a U.S. veteran and his family who were stuck in a Russian-occupied portion of the country.

The situation was dire. There were Russian tanks parked on the veteran’s street.

According to Fox News Digital, it took two attempts to safely retrieve Bob Platt, his wife, and the two family cats. They were living in a town to the northeast of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

4-1-1 on U.S. Veteran Rescued in Ukraine

  • Project Dynamo secured Bob Platt, his wife and family pets from town outside of Kyiv.
  • Group tried twice. First time, Russian artillery intervened.
  • Project Dynamo can’t use airplanes for rescue. They drive people to nearby countries.
  • They’ve successfully pulled 215 people from the country.
  • Platt was told “we don’t leave our people behind.”

Bryan Stern founded Project Dynamo last summer. He talked about the successful rescue of Platt and his family.

Stern said Platt and his wife were in a part of Ukraine that was “squarely behind enemy lines with, no kidding, Russians in his backyard and tanks parked on his street.” And Stern said Platt warned him that the situation was “too hot here. You need to go. Just leave. We’ll be in Russian-occupied Ukraine.'”

Then Stern told Platt about their plans. “I said, ‘This is the deal. We don’t leave our people behind, not happening. You have two very simple jobs: Stay positive and stay alive. Leave the rest to me.’” 

Fox reported that Platt was a retired vet from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. He served in Operation Just Cause, which was the invasion of Panama in late 1989. And he was in Operation Desert Storm, which was the combat phase of Operation Desert Shield in 1991.

Project Dynamo pulled Platt, his wife, and two cats and drove them to a safe spot across the Polish border, Saturday night. They first tried the mission Thursday and got to within five miles of Platt’s home. But the group came under fire from Russian artillery.

Stern said: “To be able to tell a service member behind enemy lines, ‘We will not leave you behind.’ And then to rescue him and not leave him behind — it’s just great.” 

Project Dynamo Has Rescued 215 People Since Russian Invasion

So far, Project Dynamo has escorted 215 people out of Ukraine. That total included three premature babies and a family of Afghan refugees. Those refugees settled in Kyiv after fleeing Kabul.

Stern also is a combat veteran. He helped co-found Project Dynamo late last summer as the United States pulled the last remaining troops from Afghanistan. Their goal was to help Americans and their allies leave the country before the Taliban took it over. Project Dynamo ended its work in Afghanistan in January. Stern said they began sending their people to Ukraine as Russia started building up troops. The invasion started Feb. 24.

Stern said it’s more difficult to pull people from Ukraine because his group can’t use airplanes. However, they can drive the people to neighboring countries.

“It’s been really inspiring to see the other countries opening their arms for people in need,” Stern said. 

Millions of Ukrainians have escaped since the invasion started. Poland is the destination for most of the refugees. Two million Ukrainians headed to that country, which is just to the west. Refugees also have gathered in Romania, Moldova and Hungary.