By Maj. Ladislav Ruzicka
First published in
SFOR Informer #96, September 13,
You may have seen her carrying newspapers. You may
have seen her at Echos -- helping others improve their English
skills - or you may simply have noticed her ready smile.
joined the Army for adventure. At that time (1976), there weren't
many women in the US military," said US Army Master Sgt.
Patricia Stein, Senior Legal NCO for the HQ SFOR Legal
Her "adventure" in Bosnia was short, May 2000 - September
2000, but important to her.
"When IFOR came to Bosnia in 1995, I was appointed as the
Rear Detachment Company Commander for HQ, 1st Armored Division
in Germany to support IFOR HQ in Bosnia," said Stein. After
that 16-month assignment, she moved to SHAPE, where she continued
to support the Balkan peace-keeping missions.
"This mission (in Bosnia) has become my life. I visited the
War Crime Tribunals in The Hague. I heard first-hand the suffering
of the victims. It's something you can't forget. I want to be
part of bringing peace back to this region. I'm proud of our participation
here," said Stein.
She only visited the city of Sarajevo once. She met a group of
local children here. "I gave them some coins, my pens and
I also had some lotion in my pocket. I gave them that. In return
I received lots of hugs, kisses and nice smiles," laughed
"After completing my tour in Bosnia, I will begin searching
for a civilian job. I love the military, but with my age, it's
a good time to start a civilian career, probably with computers
-- but my dream would be if I could work with the Tribunal in
"The most important lesson of SFOR is that we continue our
efforts to understand people of different backgrounds. This has
been the best tour of my career. I've learned so much from people
of many nationalities. I will take my SFOR experiences back to
my soldiers, my friends, and my family." said Stein. "I
wish they could all enjoy such a rewarding opportunity."
Nations of SFOR: USA