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Soldier in the spotlight

By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001

She seems tiny in the mechanical shovel cabin. Her hands do not shake on the levers. After precisely skimming a home wall, stones and rubble are emptied and crashed into a Spanish truck.
When I was small, I dreamed of driving digger engines and I liked the Army. Today I can combine them both, explained engineer Eva Maria Jimenez Silva.
She joined the Army in her 20th year, three years ago.
Jimenez Silva is in her third tour in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a 1st Engineer Regiment member, she was assigned to the Mostar 13th Engineer Unit, at first for four months during 1999, then five months in 2000 and six months this year.
In the Spanish Army, there are a lot of girls who drive armoured vehicles, but very few drive earth movers. In my unit there are three girls, but I am the only one in the field, the others are in the office, she explained.
She takes part in CIMIC operations in the Mostar area. With her building engine, she removes rubble from destroyed houses rat and snake dens that Bosnians can not remove by their own means. Jimenez Silva explained, in this way I feel I have a useful job and am helping people.
Her work and numerous tours in Bosnia and Herzegovina permit her to look at the countrys evolution. At the beginning, there were a lot of houses with sheets covering the roofs, nowadays most of these houses have been rebuilt, she noticed.
Jimenez Silva explained, with a big smile, that she will serve in the army only for two more years, then she would like to come back to the area as a tourist, especially in Dubrovnik!

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain