Willy Joseph Cancel, a former U.S. Marine, was killed while fighting alongside the Ukrainian Military, Monday 29 April, according to his family. Cancel leaves behind a wife and a 7-month-old child.
According to his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, Cancel was working with a private military contracting company at the time of his death. Media outlets are also reporting that Cancel may be the first American death in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
Before war broke out between Ukraine and the agressing Russia, Cancel worked as a correctional officer in Tennessee. After the conflict began, the contracting agency began searching for contractors willing to travel to Ukraine, and Cancel agreed to go.
Cancel flew to Poland, then crossed in Ukraine between March 12 and 13.
According to Cabrera, her son wanted to go over “because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it so it didn’t come here”.
He didn’t want it to involve our American Soldiers, Cabrera invoked.
Cabrera stated that Cancel's body is yet to be recovered.
"My husband did die in Ukraine," widow Brittany told Fox News. "He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life...My husband was very brave and a hero. I did not expect to be a widow at 23 years old or for our son to be without a father. All I want is for him to come home, and to give him the proper burial he deserves," she added.
Cancel was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and served as Marine rifleman.
U.S. Marine Willy Cancel volunteered again to defend his country. He volunteered again to confront the wrongdoings in the world. He volunteered again for his family, for his country and for his Service Members that were on his left and his right and had his six.
Cancel died defending freedom and those that needed help. These actions deserve our respect and they deserve to be honored by his brothers and sisters in arms, and the people of this nation.
Thank you for your service, Marine.
For safety reasons, we are including this statement by the U.S. State Department.
The department advises Americans not to travel to Ukraine, citing the ongoing armed conflict. On Friday, a department spokesperson repeated this.
"We once again reiterate that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials, and that U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options."