A Marine veteran who volunteered to fight in support of Ukraine is dead, the State Department confirmed to Marine Corps Times.

Retired Capt. Grady Kurpasi, 50, was last seen April 26, 2022, in southern Ukraine, The Washington Post reported in July 2022.

Working as part of a team of international volunteers, Kurpasi and a British man, Andrew Hill, went to investigate the source of gunfire, the Post reported. They radioed to their team that they were under fire.

Hill was captured by Russian-backed forces and reportedly charged with being a mercenary. Two other members of the unit were killed, according to the Post.

Loved ones had feared Kurpasi had been captured or killed, the Post reported.

“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen in Ukraine,” a Statement Department spokesperson said via email Wednesday in response to a Marine Corps Times request for confirmation of Kurpasi’s death. “We are in touch with the family and providing all possible consular assistance. Out of respect for the family’s privacy during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser organized by William Lee on behalf of Kurpasi’s wife, Heeson Kim, stated that the Marine veteran had been killed in action.

GoFundMe spokesman Jalen Drummond confirmed that the fundraiser is verified and that the funds will go to Kim.

Kurpasi, who grew up in New York City following his adoption from Korea, enlisted in the Marine Corps at the unusually late age of 29 following the 9/11 attacks, according to the GoFundMe.

He became an infantry assaultman and ultimately became a scout sniper, the GoFundMe states. He deployed three times to Iraq, according to the Post and the GoFundMe.

Kurpasi attended UCLA through a selective enlisted-to-officer commissioning program and then became an infantry officer, according to the GoFundMe. He retired in September 2021 as a captain.

Kurpasi’s 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, CNN reported.

“After retiring from the Marine Corps, Grady felt obligated to assist in Ukraine as they defended their country against the Russian invasion,” the GoFundMe reads. “Grady went to train soldiers but due to the intensity of the war and the need for combat-experienced leaders, Grady ended up leading a squad into battle and was killed in action.”

He is survived by a wife and a 14-year-old daughter, according to the GoFundMe.

“He led his Marines by example and loved his family - speaking of them often,” the GoFundMe reads.

Marine Corps Times attempted to contact Lee, the organizer of the fundraiser, but did not receive a response. Military.com first reported news of the GoFundMe.

The confirmation of Kurpasi’s death comes a little more than two months after the death of Marine veteran Pete Reed, 33, who was killed in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Reed had reportedly been administering medical aid to civilians.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

In Other News
Load More