Valor Friday

| March 11, 2022

Vitali Skakun

This week I have a fresh case of valor to cover.

During the 2022 Invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Ukrainian Armed Forces displayed incredible heroism in defending their homeland. The invasion began on 24 February, and in those critical early days was bogged down by these defenders. In the days since, the Ukrainian people have answered the call and volunteered for militia service by the tens of thousands. Without the defenders at the beginning, Ukraine would have been quickly conquered. It appears this was Putin’s plan all along, but no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

One of Russia’s enemies in the early days of fighting was Vitalii Volodymyrovych Skakun. They weren’t prepared for the level of determination Ukraine would show.

Skakun was born in 1996 in Berezhany, a small city in the west of Ukraine. His mother was a teacher at his primary school where his principal described him as, “A wonderful child, a good student.” His high school years were spent at a vocational school where he was trained as a welder. He then attended the prestigious Lviv Polytechnic University. Somewhere around 18 months ago, Skakun enlisted with the ZSU, short for Zbroini syly Ukrainy, the armed forces of Ukraine.

Skakun ended up a combat engineer (better known to many as a “sapper”) in the Ukrainian Naval Infantry. The Navy Infantry is most analogous to our Marine Corps. Various articles like Skakun’s rank as Seaman, but the Ukraine Naval Infantry uses Army-style ranks. His rank of Matros would seem to indicate he was part of the Ukraine Navy, but assigned to the Navy Infantry’s 35th Naval Infantry Brigade.

Skakun’s unit was part of the defense of mainland Ukraine on the border of the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula. Russian forces were using their foothold of Crimea to stage their invasion of greater Ukraine.

To forestall the invasion, the decision was made to blow the Genichesky Bridge on the Crimean Isthmus. It is one of the critical pieces of infrastructure joining Crimea to the mainland. On that first day of the battle for Ukraine, Skakun was part of the separate marine brigade sent to take out the bridge.

As a sapper, Skakun’s role was to place charges on the bridge to blow it. With a Russian tank column approaching the bridge, he moved out to put the high explosives into position.

Preparing for a remote detonation, Skakun found himself unable to withdraw in time. With the Russians about to overrun the bridge, the 25-year-old sapper made a difficult call. Retreat to join his comrades, who would then have to withdraw under the onslaught of the armored column, or blow the charges and take out the bridge.

Skakun chose the latter. He radioed his fellows that he was going to be manually setting off the charges. Immediately thereafter an explosion was heard. The sapper had well plied his trade. The bridge was nearly severed in two. The damage was severe enough that it halted and significantly delayed the advance of the Russia aggressors. In the process though, it claimed his life.

Gold Star of the Hero of Ukraine

The sacrifice of the valiant young Marine did not go unnoticed. He was one of the first men in the war to receive the Gold Star of the Hero of Ukraine, the country’s highest honor. Also receiving the Hero of Ukraine that first day of the war were the 13 defenders of Snake Island who famously responded to a Russian ship’s plea for their surrender with “Russian warship, go fuck yourself”

The Ukraine Defense Ministry had this to say in its post about Skakun’s sacrifice;

Russian occupiers, know that the earth will burn under your feet! We will fight while we live! And while we are alive we will fight!

The motto of the Ukraine Navy Infantry is ?????? ??????! (“Always Faithful!”). This couldn’t have been better exemplified than by Seaman Vitalii Skakun. He is survived by his mother, grandmother, and an older sister.

His sister wrote this heartbreaking message on Facebook the day after Skakun’s death;

When yesterday we woke up from the siren in Lviv, Victoria [Skakun’s young niece] was scared and began to panic… But we calmed her down and said our army is strong that zsu will protect us and everything will be fine. On what my daughter asked: “Armed Forces – is this my uncle Vitalik? ”
And I nodded my head, “Yes, he and hundreds of others.” And immediately wrote to you, but you were silent, you protected us
My younger brother… Our HERO ?
Rest in peace! ?

According to local Berezhany news sources, the family plans to inter Vitalii in Brzezany, though there is no word on when such would happen.

Category: Historical, Marines, Ukraine, Valor

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Thank You So Much for posting this story, Mason.

Rest In Peace Vitalii Volodymyrovych Skakun. Prayers for his Family.

Never Forget.


He looked skyward & yelled to Captain Ripley “hold my beer”.

AT1 ret



Hardcore! Look forward to meeting this Hero on Fiddler’s Green.

“…no greater love…”

Thanks, again, Mason.


Now, that’s heroism.

USMC Steve

Just Marines Marining…

RGR 4-78

Rest in Peace.


…. ran out of kleenex.
The doors of the Hall of Heroes are wide open….




Almost feel sorry for those Russian conscripts. Almost.
Thanks again, Mason.


Rest in peace warrior.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Too bad he wasn’t married & had a child to pass along his Big Bold BadAss Genes. HOOAH!