Kyle Ronald Porter - Fireforce Ventures Founder
Kyle Ronald Porter was one of the Fireforce Ventures Corporation's original founders. He was killed in action in the vicinity of Bakhmut as an attached member of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Ground Forces on 26 April 2023. He had been engaged in sustained combat in Ukraine since December 2022.
At the time of his death, he was a member of “Code 9.2”, a sub unit within the Legionnaires Special Service Group of the Ukrainian International Legion. He had also served with the 1st Infantry Battalion, Ukrainian International Legion. He had been to Ukraine twice before as a Search and Rescue technician with a humanitarian non-profit organization, recovering wounded and deceased civilians in Kiev and Kharkiv. Prior to this, he had spent two rotations in Southern Africa on anti-poaching missions and had served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Medical Technician in 15 Field Ambulance and 12 Health Services (CFB Wainwright). He ultimately voluntarily released from the Canadian Forces, under honorable conditions in 2021. He had also adventured around the world, diving the Scapa Flow wrecks, skydiving in Arnhem to commemorate Operation Market Garden, hiking the route of his Jacobite ancestors in the Scottish Highlands, and ranging on the African veldt on anti-poaching operations. He often went by the name "Roland", after the mythical headless mercenary described in his favorite song by Warren Zevon.
In his short 27 years, he had seen, accomplished and overcome more than all of us. Perhaps his proudest moment was being given the moniker "Ndlovu", the Shona word for "elephant", by a legendary member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts. He proudly displayed this with a massive tattoo on his left shoulder bearing a depiction of an elephant, superimposed onto the African continent, a Matabele cowhide shield, and a Shona assegai spear. The tattoo was vibrantly colorful, and dramatic in its subject. An elephant, spanning the breadth of his entire shoulder and tricep, was seen smashing through the whole of the African continent, juxtaposed amidst a black drop of savannah and starry skies. Kyle was that elephant, a walking juxtaposition in his own way. He was serene in nature, dedicated to his studies, respect for elder warriors, and unobtrusive personal conduct. Amidst this backdrop of serenity, he was also capable of incredible strength and aggression, which he would channel when needed.Kyle founded Fireforce Ventures with Henry "Hank" Lung in the muggy summer of 2016. Many knew him by his alias "Roland", given his globetrotting, gunslinger adventures around the world. Kyle was not only a friend, but an integral part of Fireforce Ventures as a company. He was the one who roped Hank in all of this, after BMQ, askin’ him “Hey, do you think we can buy Rhodesian Brushstroke?” He was the one who spent a those summer nights in 2016 figuring out how the hell to start a business, pay taxes, and source milsurp. Kyle came up with the name "Fireforce Ventures", and drew up the rough design for our logo which has now stood the test of time. Kyle also emphasized attention to detail and a deep respect for the hard-won military heritage that comes with the word “Fireforce”.
However, being a combat medic was Kyle's passion first and foremost. Ukraine was the ultimate test of his Soldiering abilities, Kyle harbored no love for any political extremes, and they played no factor in his decision to volunteer in a combat unit. He wanted to truly "run with the Buffalo" in a sense. He hated war, and yet, he was never happier or more fulfilled in life. He had arrived on the front lines to fight with the Ukrainian cause in December 2022 and had faced his baptism of fire on New Year's Eve courtesy of a massive Russian artillery barrage. He saw no "Reddit Brigade" out there, and the frauds and wannabees did not last long in combat. He fought as a regular "Doc" in some of the worst theatres of the entire war. He was affectionately called "Sloan" by both his Legionnaire and Ukrainian comrades, which phonetically meant "elephant" in Ukrainian. After months of hard trench fighting in northern Ukraine, he personally requested to be sent to Bakhmut where the fighting of the Russo-Ukraine War had been fiercest over the past few months. For many gruelling weeks in the mud of Bakhmut, Kyle saved many lives as a team medic, no matter what uniform they wore.
Kyle lived the archaic life of a warrior, where meaning would only be derived from the worst privations a man could suffer. These privations did not faze him, nor did the ever-present danger of death. He bore the grim task of warfighting with good cheer and great courage. He would meet his end in a country, many thousands of miles away, fighting for an army and people that were not of his native land or kin. His death would be the culmination of his choice to choose the same strife of his ancestors over the soft comforts of this common time. For his adopted land, his brother legionnaires, and with a full heart, he willingly gave his life.
"And said, "No chains shall sully thee. Thou soul of love and brav'ry. Thy songs were made for the pure and free. They shall never sound in slavery."
Nick Anthony Coventry Carter - "C" Squadron, Rhodesian SAS
There was a time when Fireforce Ventures might have just shut down when reputations and careers were dragged through the mud. It was our darkest hour.
That's when people like Nick showed up. He was one of many Rhodesians who backed us up in our hour of need. He became a friend to a bunch of military history nerds on the other side of the globe who were under attack from Antifa-affiliated journalists.
As labour unions, army officers, and law firms threw in the towel in our fight to preserve professional reputations, Nick stepped up. He gave us a deeper appreciation of Southern African history and told us how we'd fight back.
Nick was tenacious to that end. He gave us critical marketing advice, business suggestions and wrote some powerful letters of recommendation to repair our reputation. Most importantly, he connected us with many black African veterans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. It was their stories and lived experiences that gave us the motivation to double down on our efforts. The connections with these old Masodja and their families are something we cherish and continue to build upon.
It wasn't always easy given the cultural gaps between a baby-boomer Rhodesian War vet and some Canadian millennials, but Nick never gave up on us. We were planning to thank Nick in person, but sadly COVID-19 threw a wrench in our travel plans to Africa. Though we never met in person, we can't thank him enough. Nick passed away 20 May 2020 after a valiant battle against some health problems. He was 61 years old.
In life, Nick was a daring bugger and sometimes even divisive among his fellow Rhodesians. Even though he was a tough nut, we're extremely glad he was on our side.
Rest in Peace.