Army vet Cody Heard is heading to Ukraine to help fight the Russians — a decision he made because of his kids.
The 28-year-old former infantryman, honorably discharged in 2018, has two daughters with his wife, Amanda, and vowed to volunteer after watching news of the invasion and “seeing small children getting hurt,” he told The Post.
“I started thinking about my kids. I was thinking, if I was in that position, would I want someone else coming over and helping us? Absolutely, yeah.”
So he’s planning to fly to Ukraine with a group of other veterans in the next few days, leaving behind his family in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a job with Amazon to lend a hand to the Ukrainians as they resist Russia’s army.
“I think it all goes back to being an American and being a patriot,” he said.
Heard, who served in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment as well as being a member of the Arkansas National Guard, doesn’t have combat experience but underwent live fire training during boot camp in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2012 and learned how to fire missiles.
He said he didn’t know if he would see action in Ukraine.
“Mainly our mission is to help train civilians so that they have more of a chance to defend themselves,” he said.
“And also helping people get out, to get to safety. And we will be doing some reconnaissance. None of us really want to engage but we will defend ourselves or others if we have to.”
During his time in the Army, Heard served with a soldier who had come to the US from Ukraine.
“He was in my unit and he’d fought the Russians before. Then he went back home. So when Russia invaded, I felt like my brother was under attack. In the infantry, we live by a very close bond. But there was nothing I could do. Then I saw civilians were being targeted.”
Heard began reaching out to other vets via Facebook.
“They were volunteering,” he said. “We had a Skype meeting a day or two after the invasion. They told me, ‘We’re flying to Poland and then we’re going to cross over into Ukraine.’ I’m part of two groups now. One of our guys is there now — Harrison. He’s an off-duty Chicago police officer.”
Heard told The Post that he plans to be in Ukraine for about a month, and on Monday posted a video updating his situation on #veteransforukraine on TikTok.
“This is my final week home,” he says in the clip. “I’ve been extremely busy with the wife and kids, trying to spend a little time with them before I leave. And then also have to coordinate with the group I’m with, so a lot of planning.”
He is part of a wave of American service members taking up arms in a volunteer “international legion” formed by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who is seeking to add firepower in his fight against the Russians.
More than 3,000 US citizens have applied for a force that already has 16,000 foreigners, according to Zelensky.
“The reason I feel like we’re doing the right thing is that in this conflict, there really aren’t two sides,” volunteer and former Army infantryman Henry Hoeft told the Columbus Dispatch.
“There’s bipartisan support for the Ukrainian people and support across countries. For me, that’s evidence that we’re doing the right thing.”
One group of 10 special operations vets, including six Americans, has experience in close combat and counterterrorism and they are now in Poland planning to join the battle, according to BuzzFeed.