WEST POINT GRAD (CLASS OF '81) ENLISTED
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We have a reputation for doing the unusual here on MCC, some 17 years after we first went online to "fight for the truth" and "expose the corrupt."
West Point has been a frequent subject of our stories, but we've never had one as strange as this. The USMA was where the late Mark Paslawsky earned his Army commission as a second lieutenant in 1981.
The Ukrainian-American served nearly ten years on active duty before leaving the Army as a captain to start a new career as an investment banker. He was very successful (some said he was a millionaire), and in the 1990's he went to live in Kiev, Ukraine.
ENLISTS AS A PRIVATE
When Russian troops crossed into Ukraine in 2014 to help separatists rebel against Ukrainian control, Paslawsky made a decision that was to seal his fate. "I decided I needed to join the fight . . . if there was ever a time to help Ukraine, this was the time to do it."
Despite his middle-age, the former U.S. Army Ranger enlisted with the Donbass Battalion, a fighting force made up of volunteers who battled the invaders with whatever weapons they could find or capture.
Paslawsky, using the nom-de-guerre "Franko," and fluent in both Russian and Ukrainian, did his best to provide leadership and give military training to the rag-tag group, but they were out-gunned and out-classed by the better-equipped opposing force.
DIED FIGHTING THE RUSSIANS
His luck ran out during street fighting in Ilovaysk, just outside the larger city of Donetsk. It was August 19, 2014 when Paslawsky joined a platoon providing cover fire for a larger unit
"I want to get back to the States and see my mother one more time," he told a reporter for a Ukrainian media outlet just before the fatal firefight. "Let's hope this thing (the fighting) can be over by the end of August."
For Mark Paslawsky, it was. R.I.P., sir. You will not be forgotten.