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Project Dynamo Saves Lives & Reunites Families

By Kellie Speed   

When the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in the most unprecedented way in August 2021, Bryan Stern knew he had to jump into action to rescue the American citizens and allies left behind.

“At the time, I was working on a speech for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and was watching on TV,” he said. “It was clear we were going to leave people behind, and it was mismanaged for a lot of reasons. I had been there a lot and buried a lot of my friends in Afghanistan over time, so I wanted to figure out what to do. It was emotional working on the 9/11 speech, and this period of time was extremely personal.”

At that moment, Stern decided to create the international rescue organization Project Dynamo, an elite veteran-led and donor-funded nonprofit designed to assist Americans and allies in peril. Since then, their rescue missions have spanned nationally from Hurricane Ian in Florida and the wildfires of Maui to internationally—Sudan, Ukraine, Russia, and most recently, Israel in the aftermath of the Hamas attack.

Stern, the founder and CEO of the nonprofit, is a multiple-tour combat veteran who served the United States in both the Army and Navy. The real-life Liam Neeson got his start in infantry and then “found his way to intelligence and special operations.”

Incredibly, Stern and his team were able to return 117 Americans to their families from Afghanistan, “the largest rescue in history.” Since then, they have done nearly 600 land and air operations, rescuing nearly 6,500 people.

The specialist in national-level intelligence and special operations was a military first responder during the attacks of 9/11. With more than 25 years of experience specializing in hostage rescue, counter-terrorism and unconventional warfare, the Purple Heart recipient has supported operations in nearly 70 countries.

“9/11 is woven into our fabric and everything we do,” Stern said. “Americans need help, and we are the Americans who just show up. We are Americans doing what Americans have always done—[we] help each other out. In the history of the U.S., we have never left Americans behind enemy lines.”

Stern has served with the most elite units and agencies within the U.S. Special Operations and Intelligence Communities and is a specialist in near-peer threats, hard targets and denied area/contested area operations.

Will his work ever be complete?

“This is what retirement looks like,” he joked. “I pray for that day when we won’t be needed. Project Dynamo was only supposed to be around for three weeks. It is stressful, but we have been able to reunite families with their kids. We have heard bombs going off or shooting in the background with someone begging for help. It’s very hard work. There are language barriers, and we have gone three to four days with no sleep, not a wink. Everyone has PTSD. Marriages are strained, and finances are strained. At the end of the day, I am just a servant of the people. My oath is still ingrained in me. If the government is not going to rescue Americans, I am.”

To learn more about Project Dynamo or to donate, visit

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