25-year-old Ephraim Mattos served in the U.S. Navy for six years. During his time in the service, he became a Navy SEAL, one of the most elite special operators in the world.
In May 2017, Mattos returned to Iraq, feeling compelled to help. He paid for the trip on his own and provided important services to forces on the ground without taking pay.
“I wanted to do the right thing,” he told Independent Journal review.
While in the SEALs, Matos served in Afghanistan as the war came to an end. But In the three months in Iraq fighting ISIS, he saw more conflict in Mosul than his entire time on deployment in Afghanistan. His experiences paint an eye-opening picture of the brutality coming at the hands of ISIS after losing a massive piece of territory in Iraq.
“Back at our field hospital, there was a road where people who had just been freed from ISIS would walk down,” Mattos recalls. “I saw this female walking with this man who had his leg held together with pins. What stood out to me was that this woman was holding up his leg with some type of scarf as he walked. It was at least 100 degrees and they had no clue how much further their walk might be.”
This is just one of many examples of the devastation at the hands of ISIS. In another incident, Mattos witnessed a little girl whose brother’s face had been completely burned off and her mother’s arms shattered.
“Humans are capable of incredibly horrible things, but they are also capable of extremely great and noble things,” the SEAL said. “And each one of us has the choice to decide which side we are going to be on.”