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    RC-South runs in recognition of Slovak National Uprising

    RC-South runs in recognition of Slovak National Uprising

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Houston | Slovak Col. Zoltan Iboš, and Slovak Sgt. Maj. Martin Bernath, both serving with a...... read more read more

    KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - At the crack of dawn, the sun crept from behind the mountains and cast it’s first light onto the vibrant colors of the Slovak flags that adorned an open area on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, as Regional Command-South service members and civilians gathered for a 5-kilometer run in recognition of the Slovak National Uprising, Aug. 29, 2014.

    The aim of the 5K run was to demonstrate Slovak culture and remember the Slovak National Uprising, an armed resistance in World War II against Nazi influence and occupation, initiated 70 years ago to the day on Aug. 29, 1944. On Sept. 1st, Slovaks also celebrate their National Constitution Day, which marks their separation from Czechoslavakia in 1992 and formation of the Slovak Republic, which was also commemorated by the run.

    “The purpose of today was to make ISAF personnel aware of our most important national holidays,” said Capt. Jozef Bačko, a native of Žilina, Slovakia, who serves as a force protection officer with a Mobile Strike Force, Security Force Advisory Team, RC-South.

    “We wanted to show how important this day really is for us, and how we identify with what our ancestors did for us by standing up against a tyrannical government,” Bačko said.

    Although the Nazi’s slowed the Slovak rebels’ momentum, they continued to resist the Nazis using guerrilla tactics. Their deliberate efforts continued until the Czechoslovakian, Soviet, and Romanian armies finally aided in their liberation a year later.

    “The Slovak people who were involved in the uprising, clearly showed other nations throughout Europe that they would not align themselves with fascism, that they believed in a free Slovakia,” said Lt. Col. Peter Michlík, a native of Levoča, Slovakia, who serves as commander of the Slovak Army SFAT in RC-South.

    The 5K was also used for a stage to raise awareness of and encourage donations to assist an Afghan-born Slovak physician who is building a school and clinic in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, from his own and other donated funds.

    “Dr. Nasir Jalili is the most renowned doctor in mosquito borne-illnesses in all of Slovakia,” explained Michlík. “Jalili left Afghanistan to study medicine in Czechoslovakia and vowed to return one day to his native land to build a school.”

    Michlík explained that Jalili firmly believes in Nelson Mandela’s philosophy that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

    Michlík was moved to assist Jalili’s efforts when he read an article about him that was published in Slovakia approximately a month ago. Michlík explained how he obtained an appreciation for education from his father who was unable to attain any formal education.

    “As a child, I lived under an iron curtain of communism, and in my
    home there were five children,” said Michlík. “My father didn’t have the opportunity to gain an education, but he always encouraged all of us to be educated. All five of us have since gone on to seek a college education, and are successful.”

    “I know first hand that education is necessary for progress, especially in Afghanistan where most people have no access to education, so without any help from abroad, it’s very difficult to improve the situation of the children of Afghanistan. So I feel great in heading this effort to help Dr. Jalili’s cause,” Michlík said.

    When the race was finished, Slovak souvenirs were awarded to the winners. Later on they enjoyed each other’s company at a barbeque with their U.S. partners.



    Date Taken: 09.02.2014
    Date Posted: 09.02.2014 08:33
    Story ID: 140936
    Location: AF
    Hometown: BRATISLAVA, SK
    Hometown: LEVOCA, PV, SK
    Hometown: MARTIN, SK
    Hometown: NITRA, SK
    Hometown: ZILINA, SK
    Hometown: FORT HOOD, TX, US

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