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Soldier in the spotlight

By 1Lt Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#103, December 20, 2000

Ireland is a country that has always been in the forefront of Peacekeeping Operations. And if someone can represent this, it is definitely this man
Sgt. Tony Attridge was born in Cork City in 1944. Because he lived near the barracks, since he was very young he saw soldiers everyday. He joined the Army as soon as he could, in 1961, in the Infantry, and with his Battalion was sent to what it was the first of his many missions abroad, and probably the most dangerous and exciting: The Congo.
"UNCO was a Peace-Enforcement Operation" he remembers. "We used to receive fire from ANC (Congo National Army) everyday. But when you are young, nothing matters.” One year later, in 1963, he went back to Congo for a second round.
Back in Ireland, he moved to Transport, and in the next seven years, he went to Cyprus for four tours, for UNICYP mission. "We were observers, at the mountains, keeping the factions separate".
1970 was a key year, personally and professionally. He married Eileen, and after a six month course, he became a Military Policeman. In the next 13 years, he had four children and no missions abroad.
Between 1983 and 1999 he went to Lebanon for eight tours, with UNIFIL. He remembers some of them: "We were always in the bunker, under mortar fire". He also stayed for a six months tour in Kurdistan (Northern Irak), with UNIMMOG (United Nations Military Observer Group), in 1988.
And, last but not least, in 2000, he arrived with SFOR.
If you care to count that’s sixteen missions abroad. That’s a vast amount of experience to bring to the mission.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Ireland