Editor’s Note: Sandboxx News has partnered with retired US Marine Colonel Andrew Milburn and his organization, The Mozart Group, as they support Ukrainian forces in their war against the ongoing Russian Invasion. It is our goal to inform the American public about the incredible ongoing efforts of the Mozart Group and the very real strategic implications of this war on European soil.
What follows is the first of a series of articles breaking down what the Mozart Group is, what they’re doing in Ukraine, and what you can do to help. In the interest of full disclosure, Sandboxx News will be including links to donate to the Mozart Group’s efforts or to inquire about volunteering to help their cause.
The best way to support the Mozart Group is to donate to them directly via their webpage.
The unprovoked and illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine has created an uproar throughout the international community. The U.S., its partners, and allies have sent Kyiv billions of dollars in security, economic, and humanitarian aid.
But some private citizens and groups have decided to get in the fight and use their experience to help the Ukrainians. The Mozart Group is just such a group.
The Mozart Group
The primary mission of the Mozart Group is to increase the capability and sustainable capacity of the Ukrainian military consistent with U.S. foreign policy. In addition, the Mozart Group aims to protect vulnerable segments of the civilian population.
The Russian military has been deliberately targeting civilian targets in an attempt to exert pressure on the Ukrainian government and population since the invasion began in late February of this year.
The Mozart Group is conducting six mission sets in Ukraine, according to materials provided to Sandboxx News:
- Medical Evacuation and Casualty Care
- Humanitarian Extraction
- Train, Advise, Assist (TAA) and Equip the Ukrainian military
- Operations in the Information Environment
- Demining/Explosive Ordnance Disposal
- Logistics/In-extremis Resupply
The group is already in Ukraine training and advising the Ukrainian military, and the goal is to stay there until at least the end of 2023. As to why the Mozart Group is in Ukraine, their answer is powerful in its simplicity.
“Assist the Ukrainian people with restoring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country while building long-term capacity,” the Mozart Group states.
The Mozart Group is led by retired Marine Corps Colonel Andy Milburn, who spent 31 years in the military and was the first Marine to lead a special operations task force in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria. At the time of his retirement, Milburn was the Deputy Commander of Special Operations Command Central, responsible for all special operations in the Middle East. Milburn has operational command experience at every rank as a special operations officer, including time leading the Marine Corps’ elite Raider Regiment.
The name Mozart Group is a play on the infamous Russian Wagner Group. A private military company with extremely close ties to the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wagner Group has achieved notoriety for its brutal practices and war crimes in every warzone it has deployed, including Ukraine, Syria, and Libya.
Training and advising
Mozart Group is composed of mature veterans who are proficient and capable instructors, subject-matter experts who can teach operation and employment of critical technologies, experienced planners who can apply a proven methodology to develop sound, risk-informed solutions to a wide variety of issues, and mentors who can help build a Ukrainian cadre capable of organically providing the capabilities outlined above.
“We have the experience, the network, and — perhaps most importantly at this point — the physical presence in-country to help meet the needs of our Ukrainian partners today,” states the Mozart Group.
According to the Mozart Group, the Ukrainian military lacks sufficient capability in critical areas, including operations planning, casualty care, and explosive ordnance disposal.
Tactical casualty care seems to be a real problem. Casualty evacuation and care of wounded troops at the front are substandard due to a lack of training and equipment. Many Ukrainian units are in dire need of individual first aid kits (IFAKs).
Joining and helping the Mozart Group
So what does Mozart Group look for in its operators?
“Above all else—emotional Intelligence! That captures it all. From motivation, through the ability to devise solutions to complex operations, a judicious risk calculus, and the ability to understand and empathize with others regardless of differences in background and culture,” Milburn told Sandboxx News.
In terms of background, members of the Mozart Group come from across the U.S. special operations community, including former Army special operators, Marine Raiders, and Recon Marines. But the Mozart Group has an international hue too, with members from the French special operations community, the New Zealand army, and the elite British Special Air Service (SAS).
Milburn was categorically clear that the unit’s members don’t directly participate in combat operations against the Russian military.
“We do provide training, advising and assisting. What that means is that we are not on the line fighting — but do have a hand in advising commanders how to run their tactical operations centers, integrate supporting fires, evacuate casualties etc.,” Milburn explained.
The group relies solely on donations to cover the organization and team members’ expenses, and up to this date, Mozart Group team members have been working pro bono. Now, Mozart Group is looking to establish a more robust and reliable funding stream that will enable it to pay members a stipend and maintain their services for more than a month or two at a time.