If you’re looking to send a message to Putin—or at least to his troops—regarding his invasion of Ukraine, SignMyRocket.com can help. For $2,000, a Ukrainian soldier will write a message of your choosing on a VOG-17 grenade, attach it to a Mavic 3 drone, drop it onto a Russian invader, and send you the video.
“We guarantee that your signed VOG will hit a soldier,” boasts the company’s Web site. “[Our] soldiers will redo it until they get a hit on video.”
Personalizing munitions is nothing new. U.S. bomber crews wrote “For Adolf” on their incendiary payloads before dropping them on Berlin. A stone fired by a Bronze Age slingshot was inscribed “Catch this.” Missiles fired on Baghdad bore the names of 9/11 victims. What’s new about SignMyRocket.com is that it might be the first time that civilians have been able to fund a war effort, and direct the artillery, in such a personalized manner.
For $2,000, a Ukrainian soldier will write a message of your choosing on a VOG-17 grenade, attach it to a Mavic 3 drone, drop it onto a Russian invader, and send you the video.
The brains behind these 21st-century battlefield letter bombs (or “artillery mailings,” as they are referred to on the site) is a 22-year-old Ukrainian creative director named Anton Sokolenko, who claims he’s “not brave enough to fight,” yet still wanted to do something for his country.
By writing notes on explosives with permanent markers, he and his team have raised more than $200,000 for the Center for Assistance to the Army, Veterans, and Their Families, an NGO that has donated vehicles as well as medical supplies and food to more than 20 brigades in the territorial-defense force, as well as the regular army. Some of these fighters help launch the projectiles.
SignMyRocket.com has raised all these funds by tapping into people’s desire to strike back at Putin, and most of the customers are American or European. Anton’s group created a full menu of options and prices that give anyone access to a full range of artillery shells and rockets they might want to consider dropping onto Russian soldiers.
For those willing to spend $3,000, his team will paint your message on the turret of a T-72 tank and send you a video of your tank in action. For $1,000, you can receive a video of your signed 155-mm. shell being loaded into and fired from an American M777 howitzer. Those on more modest budgets can just order a photo of their inscription, for prices starting at $150.
So far, people have paid to have everything from “Death to Russian scum with <3 from Amsterdam” to divorce announcements written on munitions. Which made us think: we need to get one, too. So we said, “Let’s do one that says, ‘Trump has tiny hands.’”
Anton said he’d write whatever we want on an artillery shell or rocket, “as long as it’s not political.” Comedy, on the other hand, is welcome. One buyer came up with this message on a mortar: “We’ve been trying to reach you about your T-72’s extended warranty.”
Will Cathcart is a Tbilisi, Georgia–based writer. He is a former media adviser to the president of Georgia. Robert Cooper is a Corpus Christi, Texas–based photojournalist