A Boogaloo Boi Tried to Join the Foreign Legion In Ukraine — It Didn’t End Well_q switch laser birthmark removal

Tim Dickinson·9 min read
Armed Protest At Ohio Statehouse Building In Columbus, Ohio, USA - Credit: Jason Whitman/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Armed Protest At Ohio Statehouse Building In Columbus, Ohio, USA - Credit: Jason Whitman/NurPhoto/Getty Images

When Henry Hoeft decided to join the foreign legion in Ukraine, he pitched his local newspaper on the story. The result for the 28-year-old was a PR coup: A glowing front-page profile in the Columbus Dispatch.

The piece described him, appealingly, as “as a former infantryman in the U.S. Army and half-Ukrainian on his father’s side.” And it enabled Hoeft to pose as an important actor on the global stage: “We feel like if we can hold Putin for long enough,” Hoeft told the reporter, “we can possibly stop a world war.”

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Hoeft insisted that he was committed to the cause: “I will be there for as long as it takes.” And the Dispatchplayed up his personal sacrifice, quoting him as saying, “This is who I am.” The publicity helped Hoeft raise at least $5,000 on GiveSendGo (the Christian fundraising alternative GoFundMe) to fund his foreign escapade.

But the noble narrative about standing up to Russian aggression concealed a darker tale, as the true story of Hoeft’s identity is far more complicated, and far less pleasant. Hoeft has deep ties to the militant Boogaloo Bois movement, which seeks to spark violent unrest. And his now infamous misadventure in Ukraine offers a cautionary tale about lionizing Americans who are pulling up stakes and seeking to insert themselves into a war zone.

Hoeft is known by the alias Henry Locke among the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized, heavily armed revolutionary movement that expresses its violent aims through an ironic filter. The name derives from the oft-memed 1980s break-dancing movie sequel Breakin II: Electric Boogaloo. According to the Justice Department, “The term ‘Boogaloo’ itself references an impending second civil war in the United States and is associated with violent uprisings against the government.”

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