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June 15, 2022 Press Release


Tuscaloosa, Alabama

June 15, 2022

Alabama Man Missing Following Active Combat in Ukraine

Alex Drueke, former U.S Army staff sergeant and current volunteer in the Ukrainian Army, is missing in action following a skirmish with Russian forces in east Ukraine.

The unit Drueke was attached to came under heavy fire on June 9, 2022 while holding a strategic position. They were forced to drop back, and all reassembled at the rally point except Drueke and another volunteer soldier from the U.S.

Reconnaissance on foot and by drone have not turned up signs of Drueke or the other American. “This could mean they are in hiding or it could mean they have been captured,” Drueke’s mother, Bunny Drueke, explained.

Drueke (pronounced “Droo-key”) previously served in two tours during the Iraq War. “When Russia invaded Ukraine, Alex immediately told me he wanted to go use his skills to train Ukrainians in how to operate American weaponry,” said Mrs. Drueke. “He isn’t married, he doesn’t have kids, and he has the training and the experience. He felt it was his duty to help defend democracy, wherever needed.”

Drueke left the U.S. in mid-April, entering Poland legally and making contact with Ukrainian forces from there. He helped train Ukrainian soldiers prior to being assigned to accompany the unit.

Mrs. Drueke last spoke with him by telephone on June 5. She received a text from Drueke on June 8 when he informed her he would be “going dark for almost all of tomorrow. Possibly the next day too.” She received a phone call from another member of the unit in the early hours of Monday, June 13 to inform her of the skirmish and the search for the two missing Americans.

The offices of Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) have assisted the family in contacting the State Department, the U.S. Embassy of Ukraine (currently located in Poland) and the International Committee of the Red Cross. These agencies are working to verify and share information with searchers.

Drueke will be 40 years old on his birthday June 24. He was hiking the Appalachian Trail in early 2020 when it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had been living on family land in rural West Alabama until he could resume hiking or plan a new adventure with his Mastiff rescue, Diesel, when Russia invaded Ukraine. Diesel is in the care of Drueke’s mother.