LOS ANGELES — After three military combat tours in warn-torn Iraq, Chase Millsap returned home to get on with a civilian life, but there was one thing he couldn't do; leave a comrade behind, certainly not one who had saved his life.
Especially not the former Iraqi military officer who, because he had worked with the Americans, was now living a precarious existence as a refugee dodging Islamic State militants seeking to kill him.
So for the past two years Millsap has been fighting a different kind of battle, one to gain asylum for the brother in arms he simply calls The Captain.
"The Captain is the epitome of my personal commitment to take care of people," said Millsap, 33, who served in the Marine Corps and upon reenlistment joined the Army and became a Green Beret.
For the time being, The Captain lives in southern Turkey, struggling to obtain refugee status in what he hopes will be the first step toward seeking permanent asylum in the United States.
"If I go back, I'm sure I die," the 37-old Muslim and married father of two said recently during an interview over Skype. He agreed to speak, but, fearing for his safety, only wanted to be identified by his former rank.
As he spoke his 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son played in the family's living room.
Millsap visited his friend last year at his cramped apartment, hoping he might help him expedite his refugee application.
After running into one obstacle after another — The Captain couldn't get an interview at one government office because his papers were in English, not Turkish — Millsap returned to the United States and, with a handful of other military veterans, formed the nonprofit Ronin Refugee Project.
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