U.S. Iraqi Veteran Chase Millsap is back in the U.S. after three tours in Iraq. His fight against ISIS is not over, however. While serving in Iraq, he made an unlikely friend and ally, an Iraqi soldier simply known as the Captain.
Millsap met the Captain during his first tour of duty when he was a Marine second lieutenant in 2006. He was in a foreign land with a foreign culture. He was to lead a contingency of Marines and Iraqi soldiers. He laughs now when he says he was unimpressed with the Captain, who was also a lieutenant at that time.
Millsap says all Marines think they are better than anyone else. However, when a sniper took a shot at Millsap’s head, it was the Captain who saved him. The Captain pushed Millsap to the ground and chased after the sniper. The Captain saved Chase Millsap’s life that day, and that’s a debt that’s hard to repay.
“He quickly pushed me down and ran towards the gunfire and because of that, saved my life.”
In his next tour, the two met each other again. They once again were counterparts to fight together in the war. After that tour, Millsap joined the U.S. Army, becoming a green beret. He rose to the rank of Captain and kept in touch with his Iraqi friend until one day, the communication stopped.
“The Captain is the epitome of my personal commitment to take care of people.”
A year later, Millsap got a desperate call from his friend. The Captain had been nearly killed when an improvised explosive device shredded his Jeep. The Islamic State was seeking him out. The IS was sending him death threats and started referring to his family, calling his children by name. The threats became too personal, so the Captain took his family and fled to a refugee camp in Turkey.
Without a country, the Captain, who is seeking refugee status in Turkey, hopes to get permanent asylum in the United States.
“If I go back, I’m sure I die,” he said.
The 37-year-old Muslim, who prefers to go only by the Captain to protect himself and his family from ISIS, lives there with his 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. He is teaching them the English alphabet and grammar. He is also learning English himself so he can file his paperwork with the United Nations for refugee status.
In America, the U.S. Iraq veteran seeks asylum for his friend, his comrade, the one to whom he owes his life, according to the Associated Press. For two years, this has been the war Millsap has been fighting.
“I’m not advocating that everyone needs to come here but I definitely think that we should be helping to protect these people,” Millsap said.
Chase Millsap traveled to Turkey to help his friend with his refugee application, but it’s been one obstacle after another. The Captain was unable to get an interview with a government office because his papers were in English, not Turkish.
Millsap formed the nonprofit Ronin Refugee Project with only military veterans when he returned to the United States, according to the Daily Mail. The organization focuses on helping ally soldiers find safe harbor.
World News: Vet to Ask Congress for Asylum for Iraqi Soldiers Who Save American Lives,Chase Millsap, a former... pic.twitter.com/JNjSbiuiP5— Ghananewsline (@Ghananewsline1) May 24, 2016
“He’s one of millions that’s stuck in a system that is broken and he’s just gonna continue to wait,” Millsap said. “And so we decided to step up, me and a few other veterans.”
The Captain is grateful that he is not forgotten.
“I feel like you are my family. You are my brother. You and the other group of Marines are really gentlemen,” he said before his voice began to break.
On Tuesday, Millsap met with members of Congress to discuss a plan for asylum for American allies who are left in dangerous circumstances. The last time he met with a U.N. official, he was told a decision might come within three months. That was four months ago. Now he’s heard maybe in a month or two. Or maybe a year. No matter how long it takes, the Captain will not be forgotten until the debt is repaid.
[Image via Chase Millsap/Facebook]