Alexis Anttila, who is a 28-year-old biology major from Dallas, has left her university life behind for now to join Ukraine forces who are fighting against Russia.
“I decided to first go to Ukraine when I saw 40 kilometers of tanks rolling toward Kyiv,” Anttila explained. “Something in me said, ‘I have to go.’ As an American, the one thing I value most are my freedoms, and the Ukrainian people are currently having their freedoms trampled on by the Russians. And I felt inspired to go do something.”
Antilla’s duties have included working as a field medic, loading shells into cannons and firing anti-tank weapons such as Javelins and NLAWs.
Antilla was injured last year when her vehicle hit a landmine. She was able to save the life of her Ukrainian colleague.
“We were about 10 to 15 kilometers behind enemy lines on a reconnaissance mission when our vehicle hit an anti-tank mine,” she said. The passenger in the front passenger seat was severely injured and had to have his left leg amputated. “We were able to pull him out of the vehicle, get a tourniquet on him, and thankfully everyone else in the vehicle was okay, except for some minor injuries and minor shrapnel wounds,” said Anttila.
Antilla said she is not scared whilst on active duty and despite her parents having concerns about her, Antilla said that they understand the importance of defeating Vladimir Putin.
“Putin is scared. He’s sitting in Moscow and shelling out orders, but he doesn’t seem to understand, or at least he doesn’t seem to care what it’s actually like on the frontlines,” she said.
Antilla said if she were able to meet Putin, she would tell him to: “Get out of Ukraine, stop trampling on people’s freedoms, respect the sovereignty of the Ukrainian people, and just do the next right thing,” she urged.
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