KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - At 19 years old, U.S. Army Pfc. Andrii Sydoruk was a nightshift grocery worker in Los Angeles, when he was shaken by the attack on Mariupol, Ukraine, where his fiancé and her family were living on Feb. 24, 2022.
“It didn’t feel real,” said Sydoruk.
On March 2, the city was disconnected from the rest of the world.
“They cut electricity, phone connection, gas…everything,” said Sydoruk.
Sydoruk tried reaching his fiancé, Sonia, by calling friends who were trying to get out of the city and asking volunteers aiding the invasion, but no one had seen or heard from her.
“For two months, I wouldn’t know what is happening with her,” said Sydoruk. “I couldn’t do anything. I still had to go to work, but I was just like a robot.”
He finally got a phone call from her after she borrowed a phone and found connection.
“The call was a few minutes, but hearing her voice again, I was happy,” said Sydoruk.
Soon after the call, Sonia and her family moved to the Czech Republic, and Sydoruk flew out to see them in the summer. Due to his green card restriction, he couldn’t stay long and was faced with a challenge.
“I was in a choice of what to do next,” said Sydoruk. “I needed to work, and I wanted to be with her.”
Sydoruk’s mother insisted that he join the U.S. Army since moving from Mohyliv-Podil's'kyi, Ukraine, to California, with his grandmother and brother in 2018.
“The Army gave me a good opportunity,” said Sydoruk.
On Nov. 1, 2022, he saw a recruiter and was offered Germany as his first duty location, but that was not his only incentive.
“Citizenship was the case, getting a job was the case, and future education,” said Sydoruk.
Sydoruk is a petroleum supply specialist for 30th Medical Brigade under 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the lead organization for all sustainment activities in Europe and Africa and provides medical, military police, combat engineers and sustainment support to operations and partnership trainings.
Sydoruk proudly gained citizenship on July 19. On extended weekends, he visits his fiancé in Prague and will wed soon at the Ukraine embassy. He plans to explore medical education options in hopes of joining the medical field like most of his family members, and he is also training for a 10-mile run with his unit.
“He’s taking to the Army well,” said Capt. Christoper Lee, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 519th Hospital Center, 30th MB.
From Basic Combat Training to Advanced Individual Training, and now performing his military duties in Germany, Sydoruk says the Army is getting better with every step. From drill sergeants to sponsors and command leadership, he understands the lifelong community.
“Here it’s like real family,” said Sydoruk.