Question: Mike, tell us about yourself and your military service. What inspired you to serve?
Mike: When I originally enlisted, I just wanted to travel and see some cool places. After my first 3 years in the Army I hated it and was ready to get out, then 9/11 happened. That changed everything. At that point I had to re-enlist to fight for my country. Roughly 18 years later I would be retiring with 22 years of service from the Army after deploying 18 times to combat, and serving in one of the smallest and most secretive SMU’s [Special Mission Unit] the Army has.
Question: What did you experience serving in Afghanistan that enabled you to form a strong bond and trust with the Afghanistan National Army, and Afghan Special Operations Forces (SOF)?
Mike: I trained and managed some of Afghanistan’s most highly trained operatives. We trusted them with our lives at times. I conducted thousands of DA [Direct Action] raids with these men, and also went alone with 1-2 of them many times into the cities while blending in as a local.
Question: What inspired you to take action and found Project Exodus Relief? How did you assemble your team?
Mike: It started with me and some of the other guys on the team who have known each other for years passing intel back and forth trying to help each other. Then I asked everyone if they wanted to bring it into one big group. We had about 10-12 people at that time. I realized to scale this operation, we needed more help. So, I started trying to reach out to other groups to see what we could offer them and what we may be able to get in return to build relationships. We would help them with intel, and they would help us get seats on flights or something like that.
Question: What message do you want to send to those in need of evacuation in Afghanistan?
Mike: Please hang in there and plan for the long haul. We never thought it would take this long because no one could have ever imagined we would run into all of the road blocks we have encountered by some of the organizations we expected to get help from.
Question: What is the best way to help Project Exodus Relief?
Mike: First, if you have the financial means please donate to our cause. We do not accept funds directly – rather, we ask that you please donate to any of the certified 501(c)(3) organizations we have partnered with for this mission. More information is available on our donation page.
Please spread the word to your friends and family. This situation is real and it’s very urgent. The winters in Afghanistan are worse than most places in the United States including the northernmost locations. Food is running out due to supply chains being halted by border closures.
The Taliban are murdering hundreds of people every day. Our Afghan SOF are on the kill list and we lose several of them every week.
Strategically if we want to have the ability to to strike down terrorism that will emerge from Afghanistan in the future then we must recover these AFG SOF soldiers. They are our eyes and ears and without them, the “over the horizon” strike capability briefed by the White House does not exist.