Matthew VanDyke has found his life’s calling as the founder of Sons of Liberty International, an organization that aims to help people fight terrorism and despotism.
After earning a graduate degree in security studies from Georgetown University, VanDyke spent years traveling by motorcycle in North Africa and the Middle East as a documentary filmmaker. During his years on the road he made close friends in Libya, and when revolution against the dictator Muammar Gaddafi broke out in 2011, he joined the fight against the regime as a volunteer in the Libyan rebel army. In Libya, he survived wounding, capture, and nearly six months as the regime’s prisoner of war, before escaping from prison and returning to combat on the front lines until the war was won. He emerged from Libya transformed, continuing on to Syria where he pursued a number of pro-revolution projects, including directing a short documentary film about the war titled Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution. In 2014, the focus of his work changed to combating ISIS after the murders of two of his friends, journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. VanDyke founded Sons of Liberty International (SOLI) to provide free consulting, training and supplies to communities fighting terrorists and insurgents. SOLI’s first mission is working in Iraq to train and equip Christian militias to fight ISIS, which occupies nearby Mosul and much of the surrounding territory. VanDyke is determined to create the best fighting force in Iraq, but he faces enormous obstacles, including the disorganization of the militias, the constant threat of mortars and bombs and the brutality of the nearby enemy.
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