NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A former U.S. Marine was killed alongside Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia and worked as a corrections officer in Middle Tennessee before the fighting began.
Willy Joseph Cancel is believed to be the
first known death of an American citizen fighting in Ukraine. His mother told CNN Cancel was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine.
CoreCivic confirmed that Cancel worked as a correctional officer at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center before signing up to work with the private military contractor shortly before the fighting began in Ukraine on Feb. 24. On Friday, CoreCivic released a statement on his passing.
We wish to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Cancel, including his former coworkers at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, where he was previously employed as a correctional officer. As a correctional officer, Mr. Cancel served his state and his community by helping maintain a safe, secure environment where inmates can participate in life-changing reentry programs. We are grateful for his service and saddened by his loss.
White House Press Secretary White House Press Secretary said their hearts go out to the Cancel’s family and loved ones.
We don’t have official confirmation, even though we’ve seen the reports, but we have not had that official process through the government, so I can’t speak to other specifics about him beyond that. We know Americans are looking for ways to help and the reports about this individual were that he’s a veteran. He had a child, I believe, and certainly sounded like a very passionate, young man. We know people want to help, but we do you encourage Americans to find other ways to do so … rather than traveling to Ukraine to fight. It’s an active war zone. And we know Americans face significant risks, but certainly we know a family is mourning. A wife is mourning and our hearts are with them.
Cancel went to Washingtonville schools before he transferred to Newburgh and graduated from Newburgh Free Academy. To learn more about his schooling,
The Washingtonville Central School District expresses our deepest sympathy and condolences to Cancel’s family and friends.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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