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Soldier in the Spotlight

By 2Lt. Renaud de Quillacq.
First published in
SFOR Informer #71, 29 Sept, 1999.

Mostar - Everything in Sgt.Maj. Sebastiano Scionti betrays his generosity. This mountain infantry soldier from Sicily left the Dolomites to join the CIMIC Battalion in Mostar where he arrived on January 5, 1999. After nine months on the job he seems to have lost none of his enthusiasm.

You can feel it, Sgt.Maj. Scionti loves his CIMIC operations. He has covered more than 40.000 kilometres covering his Division and participating in three different "Velika" operations. "Velika" in Serbo-Croat means "big", that is the name the Battalion gives its large scale operations when they settle down for several days if not weeks. As for the "Megaba" operations, the others, he no longer counts them. For him working in the CIMIC is realising a childhood dream. At the end of the 60s, he remembers as a child immigrant in Switzerland when soldiers gave him chocolate. More than thirty years on, what he is trying to do, is allow the children here to "live the same emotions". His best moment comes from a refugee camp, where looking in the eyes of children he felt a mix of joy and pride. For him these CIMIC operations represent what every soldier would want to express. In the field he is the Operations NCO, at the same time secretary and driver. The Sgt.Maj. speaks French as well as Italian and can also get by in Serbo-Croat.

He is married to a Chilean and is a father of three children. Sgt.Maj. Scionti entered the Army at 17. Wishing to pursue his CIMIC experience which he considers very enriching he has asked, and obtained an extension of six months. The Sgt.Maj. will have passed 15 months in Bosnia and Hercegovina. It may be a record, but as he loves his work he does not count the days.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Italy