A 21-year-old US Marine veteran died in Ukraine after taking out 12 Russians in his final stand, his family said

  • US Marine veteran Ethan Hertweck was killed in fighting in Ukraine.

  • He died helping a comrade after taking out 12 Russians in his final stand, his family said.

  • Hertweck is one of around 46 Americans to have died in Ukraine since the war began.

A US Marine veteran died in Ukraine trying to help a comrade after taking out 12 Russians in his final stand, his family said.

Ethan Hertweck was killed in Ukraine on December 8, just 11 days before he was scheduled to return home to the United States, Task & Purpose reported.

"He had thought of coming home before this last mission, but we know he didn't want to leave his two 'brothers' that transferred with him to the new unit," his mother, Leslie Hertweck, told Task & Purpose. "He would have been home, here in Springfield, Missouri. today!"

Hertweck and one of his comrades were protecting two bunkers when Russians attacked them.

"They both single-handedly left their post, taking out about 12 enemy soldiers and halting their advance," his mother said.

"They saved two bunkers full of their unit. Ethan made it to the bunker but had to go back for his mate, and that is when he was hit in his left upper chest above his plate, but he still tried to render aid before he passed."

The 21-year-old Hertweck died fighting in Avdiivka in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, a fellow soldier said, according to Newsweek.

"He gave his life for a country and people he had fallen in love with," said his mother, per Task & Purpose.

Avdiivka has been the fulcrum of fierce fighting in recent weeks, as Russia continues its brutal assault to try and capture the city while making little progress.

Russia started its major assault on Avdiivka in October. It has seen huge losses since, in both personnel and vehicles, according to Ukraine, Western intelligence, and analysts.

Hertweck served in the Marine Corps from November 2019 to June 2020 and left as a private first class, according to his service record seen by Task & Purpose.

He received an honorable discharge for a rare blood disorder, according to his mother and documents viewed by the outlet.

He made several trips to Ukraine after the war began, first to help women and children on the border with Poland, then later returning to get his combat medical license.

He eventually signed a contract with the Ukrainian military and joined the 131st Special Reconnaissance Battalion as a medic for team Vidmak.

He then moved to a different unit, with one of his comrades, with whom he carried out his final mission.

At least 46 Americans have died in Ukraine since February 2022, many of them military veterans, Task & Purpose said.

Hertweck is one of 11 Marine veterans reportedly killed in Ukraine, per a list compiled by Task & Purpose.

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