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by JO1(AW) Terk O. Husbands

First published in SFOR Informer #31, March 11, 1998

Mostar - While the SFOR mission in BiH is very clear, explaining it to our children may not be so easy.

But for one German Soldier in Mostar, the degree of understanding shown by his child and her support forPhoto 1T.JPG (7257 bytes) what he is doing came as a bit of a surprise.

"Just before I left for BiH I explained to my daughter that I was going away for four months, and my daughter, who is only five years old asked why," said Ssgt. Karsten Behn, Commander and driver of the "Keiler" for the Division Salamandre.

The "Keiler" is a de-mining device, built by a German company, that is mounted on the front of a U.S. M48 Abrams tank. If the "Keiler" hits a mine it tears it up. Should the mine explode both the driver and his assistant are protected by the tank’s armour plating.

"I told her I was going to Bosnia to make the country safe for the people and children who live there," continued Behn.

Being the inquisitive child a five-year-old can be, she asked her father how he was going to do this. "I am going to remove the mines from the ground so people can walk near their homes and the children can play without getting hurt," said Karsten.

"That’s good daddy, mines are bad, so you go to Bosnia and make it safe for all the people, especially the children so they can play."

Behn was a bit surprised, by his daughter’s understanding, so he asked her how she knew mines were bad, "I learned about them in school and on TV," she said.

For Behn, hearing his five year old daughter give her overwhelming support for his deployment to Bosnia was enough to give him the strength and incentive he needed to do his job while separated from his family in Germany.

"For me, I love my work, and I get even more satisfaction out of it knowing my family understands and supports what I do while I am away."

[German soldier]

[Mining and De-mining]