Fireforce Ventures Founder, HERO
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 Charle-3, 1st Infantry Battalion, Ukrainian International Legion. He had been to Ukraine twice before as a Search and Rescue technician with humanitarian non-profit organization (CIRO), 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). While serving in the Canadian Army, he was made a huge impression on those he served with, and proved himself to be a proficient and dedicated soldier. Kyle voluntarily released from the Canadian Forces, under honorable discharge conditions in 2021 after 7 years of service. Kyle had also adventured around the world, diving the Scapa Flow wrecks, skydiving in Arnhem to commemorate Operation Market Garden, and hiking the route of his Jacobite ancestors in the Scottish Highlands. He would also traverse the African veldt as a volunteer on anti-poaching operations. Along the way, he detailed his many frequent detours to Zulu War and Boer War battlefield sites. 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 was not only a friend, but an integral part of Fireforce Ventures as a company. Kyle founded Fireforce Ventures with Henry "Hank" Lung in the muggy summer of 2016. He was the one who roped Hank in all of this, after BMQ, asking him “Hey, do you think we can make 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. His encyclopedic knowledge of camouflage, tactical gear, and military history was critical to helping get the company off the ground. Kyle also came up with the name "Fireforce Ventures", and drew up the original rough design for our logo. Though the logo has been thoroughly refined over the year, the the hallmarks of Kyle's original doodle are still present. Kyle also emphasized attention to detail and a deep respect for the hard-won military heritage that comes with the word “Fireforce”. If we were going to make a tactical clothing company and name it after Rhodesia's Fireforce soldiers, we had to be top notch.
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.
"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."
Kyle's Band of Brothers
Given the nature of Kyle's final months of service in Ukraine, group photos of Kyle and his comrades in Ukraine were somewhat rare. In one of Kyle's final poignant photos, he poses with three of the men he was closest with during the many months of tough fighting. Given their close association with Kyle, we also honor their exceptional bravery and sacrifice.
From left to right:
- Junior Sergeant Kyle Ronald Porter - KIA 26 April 2023, posthumously awarded the Order of Courage (3rd Class)
- "Legionnaire" - A dear friend of Fireforce Ventures, holding "Dushka", a puppy rescued from the rubble of a destroyed house and adopted by the team
- Captain "Dentist" - KIA 4 December 2023, recipient of the Medal of Military Service to Ukraine and Special Service Medal, formerly Sri Lankan Army SIO
- Junior Sergeant Cole Conrad "Bear" Zelenco - KIA 26 April 2023, formerly Canadian Army Infantry
Note: Kyle is seen wearing his distinctive Tam 'O Shanter bonnet, badged up with a uniquely arranged Ukrainian Special Forces cap badge on a MacDonnell of Glengarry tartan flash. He was extremely proud to display the fighting heritage of Scottish ancestors. "Dentist" wears the distinctive black beret of Ukrainian Special Forces with an International Legion flash, making plain his position as an officer holding a rare battlefield commission. "Bear", conversely wears a no-frills "operator" style cap, adorned with a Viking Raven patch.