US Army discharges infantryman that previously fought in Iraq, Ukraine as mercenary

Guillaume Cuvelier (left) and Mickael Takahashi, two "veterans" of fighting with Pro-Russian separtists in Ukraine, while serving in the Peshmerga in Iraq.

A Franco-American soldier has been expelled from the US Army after his alleged extremist views and past as a foreign fighter were unearthed, sources say.

29-year-old dual French and American citizen Guillaume Cuvelier, who had previously fought alongside bot Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists and Kurdish volunteers, was reportedly given an entry-level discharge earlier from his relatively new career as a US Army infantryman stationed in Hawaii.

Having only graduated his infantry training in January, Cuvelier had seemingly slipped past the stringent prerequisite screenings that the US Army uses to keep political extremists out of the nation’s oldest branch of service.  The Army has remained tight-lipped on the official reason for his discharge, not citing extremism or his previous connections as the reason.

Having been a combatant in an armed force that was backed by a US enemy and with a storied record of espousing extreme right wing-views, Cuvelier had either failed to disclose several key facts about his past or was slipped through by an unscrupulous recruiter.

Upon discovery, however, Cuvelier became a target of investigation.

Born and raised in France as a dual-citizen, Cuvelier spent much of his formative years around ultranationalists before he took up arms in for the Russian-backed Ukrainians in the Donetsk region, later supporting the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq.

Following inquiries by the Washington Post, the US Military looked into the matter, ultimately finding grounds for an entry-level discharge on the grounds of “extremist views or actions.”

According to the publication, Cuvelier sent a text message saying he has changed and joined the US Army as an attempt to move on.

“The [U.S.] army is my only chance of moving on and cutting with my past,” Cuvelier said. “I realized I like this country, its way of life and its Constitution enough to defend it.” By publishing a story on me, you are jeopardizing my career and rendering a great service to anyone trying to embarrass the Army. My former Russian comrades would love it. … so, I please ask you to reconsider using my name and/or photo.”

A college graduate, Cuvelier has been linked to neo-fascist and identity movements such as “Troisieme voie” and the “Young Identitarians.” In addition, he founded the Franco-Serbian foreign fighter group known as “Unité Continentale,” which harbors anti-NATO and anti-American sentiment.

“Russia embodies a power. A power of resistance, what we want to bring back to the West. A society structured around tradition, family, patriotism,” Cuvelier said, then embedded with Ukrainian separatists in the 2015 documentary titled Polite People, which in itself is titled to describe Russian troops and foreign fighters masquerading as local fighters.

As far as the US Army is concerned, the details of the discharge have been few and far between. In April, Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson said that Cuvelier had been given a discharge that was neither honorable nor dishonorable.

“Soldiers who are in an entry-level status because they have served less than 180 days of continuous active duty are normally discharged with an uncharacterized description of service,” she said.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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