A 23-year-old Washington man ‘with no military experience who snuck out of his family home’ to fight in the Ukraine War has died.
Skyler James Gregg was fighting on the frontline with the International Legion in Ukraine – which consists of foreigners and operates under the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Its believed Gregg died in north-eastern Ukraine when soldiers from the International Legion came under artillery fire in the last week of October, a Ukrainian army contact told The Daily Beast.
In his Washington state hometown of Orcas Island, Gregg had been living with his father, Steve, who had been against him going to Ukraine to fight.
Despite his father’s aversion to the idea Gregg made the decision to sneak out of his home and travel to Ukraine to volunteer despite having no military experience.
Gregg joined the International Legion in April after seeing the images of Russia entering Ukraine and being shocked by the atrocities taking place.
Just two months after joining the International Legion Gregg was wounded near Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine when an explosive hit his posting near the frontline.
Talking to The Daily Beast in a hospital where he had been recovering from his injuries Gregg said he was determined to return to the frontline after his recovery.
‘I couldn’t just sit by, I had to do something,’ Gregg said at the time.
‘I have friends in Ukraine, it’s so terrible what is happening. I needed to do something; the job isn’t finished.’
A total of 14 fragments had penetrated his body, including his right foot, right arm and shoulder at the time.
‘I didn’t want to seem more experienced than I really was, so I just told them that I had the bare minimum experience,’ he said.
He later became an LMG machine gunner and said his training in Ukraine was short and chaotic.
‘There was an opportunity to go, so I had to do it,’ he said.
‘It would, of course, be possible for me to help in a humanitarian way, but I was just so angry. I was just so angry about the Russian invasion, so I couldn’t just work in a warehouse.’
His death was confirmed by his father Steve and a former commander, who wished to remain nameless, who said the 23-year-old was a ‘hero’ and ‘very brave, big-hearted man.’
In his last messages to his father, Gregg shared photos with a woman from one of the liberated territories in north-eastern Ukraine.
Gregg had been proud to show his father how he helped the woman connect with her daughters through a Starlink internet connection after five months apart, Steve explained to The Daily Beast.
Ukrainian forces have been carrying out counter-offensive operations in the north-eastern regions in recent months and have already liberated more than 300 settlements.