Today is Armed Forces Day in Ukraine. The day is especially significant this year, 285 days after Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine.
Spirit of America has delivered over 200 tons of lifesaving protective aid to Ukrainians on the front lines. Much of this assistance has gone to help the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force (TDF), a newly created branch of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for civilian volunteers.
There are more than 120,000 men and women serving in the TDF, but only 3% had any military experience or training before this year. To increase their effectiveness as they defend their freedom, Spirit of America is pleased to announce our support of a new training program for TDF officers.
Training directly impacts a soldier’s readiness and a unit’s success on the battlefield. It leads to better decision-making and fewer lives lost. “Train hard to fight easy” is a phrase I’ve often heard repeated by our partners in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
As a result of bitter combat experience, the TDF knew it needed to place a high priority on preparing competent company-level leadership. Companies that were led by skilled and tactically proficient commanders performed well and suffered fewer casualties.
With our support, the TDF’s Captain’s Career Course launched last month for more than 50 TDF Captains. For six weeks, they are studying the best practices of combat operations in NATO countries, taking into account Ukrainian military experience. After they graduate from the Captain’s Career Course, the Captains immediately return to their units to resume the fight; over half of them will be back on the front line within two days of graduation.
Specific Spirit of America support includes providing the funds needed to house and feed the Captains and instructors, as well as the costs to cover the classroom equipment and basic needs for a training course.
Ultimately, thousands of TDF officers will receive this training, which the TDF believes can be a catalyst for their success and create an enduring institution. “High-quality and capable military leadership is our powerful weapon capable of deterring our enemy,” said Major General Ihor Tantsyura, Commander of the Territorial Defense Force.
The Captain’s Career Course is also supported by the Ukrainian NGO “Come Back Alive” and the British Government, which helped train instructors.
“I have dreamed of this day ever since I completed my Captain’s Course at Fort Benning in the United States,” said Brigade General Serhiy Sobko, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Territorial Defense Force, when the course launched. “The knowledge and skills I gained then have served me as the best decision-making and unit management tool over the years. It was then that I realized the meaning of the phrase ‘a military leader is a force multiplier.’”
The Ukrainians have demonstrated over and over again how exceptionally competent they are if they are properly equipped and trained.
On this Armed Forces Day for Ukraine, Spirit of America continues to provide aid and support to save Ukrainian lives and to end the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Your support of our Ukraine Emergency Fund is helping do just that. Together, we can help Ukraine win.