Vets in Kansas fight to get Iraqi translator to U.S.

HERRINGTON, KS (KWCH/CNN) – A group of war veterans in Kansas is now fighting to get one of their comrades out of Iraq.

The man has been stuck since ISIS took control of much of the country.

“He’s a big part of us being alive, today,” Staff Sergeant George Thiel said.

Thiel and two of his platoon members, Everett Crabtree and Cody Morrison, have served several tours in Iraq.

Now retired, they call Herington, Kansas, home.

But being home is not the same. The group says they’re missing a comrade: “Andy” Ahmed.

They came up with the nickname “Andy” and asked us to blur his photo to protect his identity.

“I will never leave a fallen comrade, this young man has fought alongside me. He’s my comrade,” Thiel said.

Thiel says “Andy” is an Iraqi civilian who volunteered to help U.S troops translate during the war.

They say he also saved their lives countless times.

“Andy would have come with us. he had the opportunity to come with us. He refused to come with us. He said the war was in his country and he was going to stay there for his country,” Thiel said.

Thiel says “Andy” is ready to come to the U.S. but is under watch by ISIS — an Iraqi-controlled group.

“He says, ‘Do you know a way out? Please, if you know a way out to get me out of here, please let me know. Thanks,’” Thiel said.

Thiel says “Andy” fought to save their lives and, now, they are fighting to save his.

“Every second counts,” Thiel said.

A group that fights together, stays together.

Thiel says they will always have an open spot for “Andy” when he gets home.

Thiel believes ISIS checkpoints make it too dangerous for “Andy” to travel to the U.S. embassy in Iraq for help.

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