By Debbie Gregory.
Chase Millsap is on a mission. The former Marine and Green Beret, a veteran of three military combat tours in Iraq, wants to save the man who saved his life.
“The Captain,” a former Iraqi military officer who had worked with the Americans, is currently living in Turkey, and is trying to seek permanent asylum in the United States.
For the past two years, Millsap has been trying to help the 37-old married father of two
expedite his refugee application.
Millsap formed the Ronin Refugee Project with a few other military veterans, a non-profit dedicated to helping those who fought alongside Americans find safe harbor here or in other Western countries.
First on the list is the Captain.
“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.”
Millsap is looking to repay a debt. After a sniper tried to take Millsap’s head off during a routine patrol, the Captain pushed him down and ran towards the gunfire and saved Millsap’s life.
The sniper, seeing an angry Iraqi soldier charging at him, chose to run rather than shoot again.
“And that,” Millsap added with a laugh, “is when I truly realized that this guy’s OK.”
Millsap left the Marines after his second tour to join the Army’s Green Berets, rising to the rank of captain. The two captains didn’t cross paths but kept in touch by phone and email until the Captain almost died when an improved explosive device blew up his Jeep.
Although he recovered, when the Captain and his family began to receive death threats, they fled to Turkey.
He and Millsap Skype once a week. During a recent call, he praised Ronin Refugee Project for not forgetting him.
“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.