A Visiting US Air Force Officer

by Major Michael H. Moore, USAF, 11/93 - 05/94

I spent six months in the Slovak Republic starting in November 1993. It is a beautiful, unspoiled country and I enjoyed hiking to castles in my spare time. I lived in Bratislava for about four months then moved up to Trencin. The capital was great, living on the edge of the old city I could take evening walks through its walls and really enjoy the ambiance of the city. I could wander down to the Danube or make the trek up the hill to the castle. From my hotel I had a beautiful view of this fortress, and the steeples of St Martin's cathedral. I bought a bicycle in German and enjoyed riding along the river or crossing over to the border with Austria.

When I moved to Trencin I found a quaint town that was very friendly to Americans. Being a Air Force officer on the US Military Liaison Team made me stand out somewhat, but I was always greeted with kindhearted welcomes. I had numerous opportunities to travel throughout the country and meet Slovaks from all parts, it seemed that the smaller the village, the greater the hospitality we had. I was lucky to witness much of the proud Slovak culture and heritage, a strong people tied to the country.

I was also impressed with the Slovak Armed Forces, and was honored to be given the opportunity to train and participate in an airborne exercise with the Special Forces regiment in Zilina. I now proudly wear a set of Slovak jump wings on my uniform, earned after completing seven jumps from Mi-2 Hoplite helicopters.

I am very grateful for the opportunity and the kindness I received during my six month tour. I hope to return one day and see how the country has developed, I only hope it hasn't lost any of its rustic charm. I will always hold a place for Slovakia in my heart.