'The Depths of War': Banding Together
Now that James Vasquez has been home, he's teamed up with retired Lt. Col. Rip Rawlings, a former U.S. Marine Corps Infantry and Reconnaissance Officer. Rawlings has deployed more than 10 times in military career and tells News 12 the atrocities in Ukraine don't compare. "This is a lot worse," he says. Vasquez and Rawlings linked up in Lviv and have since been trying to figure out ways to help former military and veterans fighting on the front lines.
"About four months ago, I went over to Ukraine, saw what was happening and decided to do something," Rawlings tells News 12. "I had an opportunity to go up near Bucha and Irpin pretty much right after James had left. He was fighting in that area. And you know I had left awhile afterwards but saw the damage and destruction and decided I couldn't stand for it, and we needed to do something about it."
The two have joined forces to create Ripley's Heroes, which says it's providing logistical support and nonlethal equipment to combat units on the ground.
"We supplied night vision goggles... we supplied vehicles we were able to crowdsource through people's generosity," says Rawlings.
Both Vasquez and Rawlings tell News 12 their common goal of helping those on the ground was ignited after seeing the dismay and horror while being in towns outside of Kyiv, like Bucha and Irpin.
"If it was 1939 and Germany was doing what it was doing at the head of World War II, what would you do? We're there right now. This is it," says Rawlings. "We have a megalomaniac ruler who is killing them wholesale, raping them, slaughtering them and stealing everything in their country," he adds.
WATCH NEXT EPISODE: 'The Depths of War': Helsinki Commission