Grady Kurpasi, 50, reportedly was last seen around April 26 in southern Ukraine, where he and a team of international volunteers were in combat against Russian forces. His loved ones told the Washington Post they fear he has been captured or killed.
Kurpasi is one of a handful of Americans who have been captured, killed or disappeared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February. At least two U.S. citizens have been killed and at least two other U.S. veterans have gone missing.
Kurpasi was a Marine Corps infantry officer and Iraq War veteran who served for 20 years before retiring in November 2021, according to CNN.
On the day of his disappearance, he and a British man, Andrew Hill, had left their position to investigate the source of an incoming fire before Hill was captured and another two members of their unit were killed, the Post reported.
On June 16 the State Department said it was aware of reports there was a third American missing in Ukraine.
“There are reports of one additional American whose whereabouts are unknown,” Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, said in a press briefing. “I can’t speak to the specifics of that case. Unfortunately, we don’t know the full details of that case,”
He added the department had been in touch with the family.
Kurpasi’s wife, Heeson Kim, first confirmed the identity of her missing husband to CNN. The outlet noted his awards included the Good Conduct Medal three times, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal three times, the Purple Heart Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, among other awards.
The Marine joined the Corps at age 29 and served three tours in Iraq, according to the Washington Post.
The State Department and the president have urged Americans not to travel to Ukraine.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media