DAQUQ, Iraq — Of the American volunteers who have joined Kurdish Peshmerga forces battling against ISIS in Iraq, Mickey stands out. The blond hair combed back on his head comes to a point on his chin in a goatee, like the kind he might have worn when he was still riding with his motorcycle club in Colorado. Mickey is not his real name but it’s what he’s called by his fellow Americans and their Kurdish comrades. The name tape on his military uniform reads “necromancer.”
“The Peshmerga officer was dying next to me, but there was nowhere to go. He died there. I couldn’t move him because of all the machinegun fire,” Mickey tells me, describing a recent battle against ISIS.
Three weeks ago, 45 kilometers south of Kirkuk, near the city of Daquq, American soldiers were once again locked in deadly combat with Islamic extremists. This time though it was not the U.S. military or private security contractors. These were American volunteers fighting alongside the Peshmerga and wearing Kurdish flags.