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Soldier in the spotlight

By Maj. Ladislav Ruzicka
First published in
SFOR Informer #96, September 13, 2000

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.
"I 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 Advisor.
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 Stein.
"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 Hague."
"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."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: USA