Soldier in the spotlight
Capt. Russell Craig
First published in
SFOR Informer#131, January 31, 2002
Estonian Master Sergeant Siim Saliste serves with his national
contingent under the Nordpol Battle Group. Despite being only
27 years old he is the platoon sergeant for two Platoons,
D Squadron of the Scout Battalion, a job that brings many
"The main operational task for Delta Platoon Sergeants
is the responsibility for weapon sites. We do inspections
and keep an eye on them," says Salsite.
His other tasks include overseeing patrols, dealing with equipment
and solving everyday problems. He explains that it is not
unusual for younger people to hold such positions within his
army as the force was only re-established in 1992.
"People get promoted very quickly because someone needs
to be an officer and someone needs to be an NCO," says
Although he is in a leadership position, he was initially
keen to avoid conscription. Once conscripted, he discovered
that army life was for him and signed on full time.
"I realised that in the army you can do everything: you
can do sports, you can sit in an office, you can learn, you
can travel, you can meet a lot of people," says Saliste.
Since joining he has worked with other nations' forces, including
the British Royal Marines in the UK, and the Italian army,
when he served in Kosovo (1999-2000).
For him, the downside of working with other nations is eating
unpalatable food, however, the positive points far outweigh
this negative one.
"If, for example, I meet Danish, British or French people,
they all have totally different things and you can pick something
from these and surprise the soldiers with them," said
His soldiers are never far from his mind and he admits, much
of his free time is taken up with their queries.
He has a month left in theatre and on returning to Estonia
where he would like to either carry on in his role as platoon
sergeant or to move to the training branch.
Nations of SFOR: Estonia