Artillery vehicle

Two Americans, both ex-army, injured by artillery in battle in Ukraine

kyiv, Ukraine— Two American volunteers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces were injured by artillery fire during fighting in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, April 27.

US Army veterans Paul Gray and Manus McCaffrey were on a mission to destroy a Russian tank near Orikhiv, a small town in the path of the ongoing Russian military offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine . The two men were waiting for a Russian tank to appear on a road when an artillery shell hit nearby around 2:35 p.m., Gray said. Coffee or Die Magazine by text message. McCaffrey suffered severe shrapnel wounds to the face, head, shoulders and torso. A concrete wall fell on Gray, trapping him momentarily and injuring his left foot.

“Manus is really bad…I’m sick of it,” Gray said, adding that he was about five feet from McCaffrey when the artillery hit. “I couldn’t help it because a concrete wall fell on my legs. He stayed talking the whole time. Extremely tough young man.

Fellow soldiers treat Manus McCaffrey after he was injured by artillery fire during fighting in Ukraine Wednesday, April 27, 2022. Photos courtesy of Paul Gray.

A native of Ohio, McCaffrey, 20, served in the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan. Gray, a native of Texas, deployed to Iraq three times as a private in the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Both men are no longer in the US Armed Forces and were civilians when they volunteered to join the Ukrainian Armed Forces through legal channels. The two American volunteers served with a Ukrainian special operations unit and worked together as a team targeting Russian tanks and vehicles equipped with American-made javelin anti-tank missiles.

Since the publication of this article, Gray and McCaffrey have been hospitalized at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Ukrainian doctors have already operated on McCaffrey to remove shrapnel; it’s unclear whether he will suffer any long-term eye injuries, Gray said.

A photo of the impact site of the Russian weapon that targeted Gray and McCaffrey. The couple took refuge behind the destroyed wall. Photo courtesy of Paul Gray.

Gray, who has lived in Ukraine for more than a year, volunteered to serve in the Ukrainian armed forces immediately after the Russian invasion on February 24. McCaffrey traveled to Ukraine after the full-scale war began to serve as a volunteer soldier. Both men fought while serving in a Ukrainian unit during the Battle of kyiv.

“We were then together this whole deployment. Every minute,” Gray said of McCaffrey, adding, “He’s such a great fighter.

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