MARIUPOL, Ukraine (CBSDFW.COM) – A nuclear scientist from Texas, who's credited with designing sensitive technology found in dozens of laser-guided weapons systems used by the U.S. military, was rescued from war-torn Ukraine.
Members of the non-profit rescue organization, Project DYNAMO extracted John Spor from Russian-occupied territory deep in the country.
Spor, was living in Mariupol, Ukraine, when the city was attacked and occupied by invading Russian forces in February. Following the siege and unrelenting brutal artillery and missile attacks, he fled his home and went into hiding.
Chechen-Russian forces ransacked his home and hunted Spor for months, according to a spokesman for the organization.
A news release explained that "due to the sensitive U.S. national security interests of his work, Spor is considered a high value target to Russian forces and intelligence services."
According to Project DYNAMO, Spor's sister contacted the U.S. State Department, Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Congressman Randy Weber to request emergency evacuation assistance for her brother.
They recommended the non-profit, an American, veteran-run, donor-funded, rescue organization specializing in challenging exfiltration missions from hostile regions around the world. It took more than a month to rescue Spor.
"Project DYNAMO has been with our family every step of the way through this nightmare. DYNAMO has been the answer to our family's prayers," said Lauri Weigle, Spor's sister. "We are in amazement that he is finally on his way to us and safe after months of hoping and praying."
Co-founder of Project DYNAMO, Bryan Stern, a highly decorated U.S. military officer, moved Spor through Russian territory, crossing more than 30 Russian checkpoints and into Ukraine. Stern employed a series of complex tactics and techniques, honed over many years of government service, to mask Spor, his location, and his movement from Russian security services. Project DYNAMO was able to rescue Spor via Kherson and through Mykolaiv and he is now enroute to a neighboring country where is family is eagerly waiting.
"I'm so grateful for Project DYNAMO and the support they have provided to me and my family during this time," said Sean Spor, John's son, who flew to Europe for the reunion. "They've rescued my dad from harm's way and I am eagerly awaiting his arrival."
To date, the organization has rescued more than 2,000 people from the most war-torn, contested, and Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and transported them safely to neighboring countries, according to the release.