Pics: Scooter Brown Plotted Mission to Rescue Dozens of Ukrainian Orphans – And It Worked

Everyone made it to safety but not before Scooter Brown said he "aged five years in five days" in a Polish hotel room.

Before Scooter Brown was a country singer in Scooter Brown Band, and his new project War Hippies, he was a Marine on the front lines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He knows what war looks like from experience and all of that came rushing back at the end of February when he watched in horror as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Except this time, it was even more personal. A 9-year-old orphan Brown’s family had hosted for several weeks over the Christmas holidays was tucked back into his orphanage in his home country. Brown views the child as family, and there was nothing he could immediately do to protect the child or the dozens of other orphans with whom he lives.

“I just knew that like, as much as you want there to be this idea that civilians won’t be targeted or that they won’t accidentally be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s a part of war,” Brown said. “These kids are in our hearts and minds as our kids, even though they aren’t legally our kids. In the moment, they’re part of our family.”

Eventually, everyone made it to safety but not before Brown said he “aged five years in five days” in a Polish hotel room.

On Feb. 24, the same day Russia started its invasion of Ukraine, Brown set up shop in Mount Juliet coffee house Just Love to see how he could utilize his military network to facilitate a rescue – not just of the boy but of all the children.

He sat there for seven hours plotting his trek, lining up resources and figuring out who he could trust to help him. While people he had worked with in Iraq were in Ukraine and willing to step up, he said it was more complicated than orchestrating an escape from Iraq where the U.S. had decades of resources and experience.

Instead of just one rescue effort, he had to plan two. The orphanage’s caretaker who had the children’s paperwork was trapped in a bunker in Kyiv with two kids – an area under heavy assault by Russian forces. To legally get the children out of Ukraine, they needed the paperwork and devised a plan to save the woman and other children, too.

Brown spent seven hours planning at the little table then decided it was “go time.”

“We needed to be over there,” he said. “If (my team) was able to get these kids tomorrow, we’ve gotta be able to meet ’em at the border and take control of ’em.”

The next day, Brown and his friend, Green Beret Andy Lang, flew to Poland. They set up a war room in their hotel. The singer said he couldn’t imagine a blockbuster thriller depicting the level of detail, anxiety and shapeshifting emotions that comprised the next several days.

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