By Staff Sgt. Rachel Martinez
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan – At exactly 8:09 a.m. May 20, silence fell over a crowd of people gathered together as they remembered two fallen comrades lost one year ago today.
In memorial services, buildings at Camp Eggers and Sia Sang in Kabul were dedicated to 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte, a 2006 Air Force Academy graduate, and Shawn Pine, who lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan. On May 20, 2009, Lieutenant Schulte and Mr. Pine were traveling to an intelligence-sharing conference at Bagram Air Field when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, killing both of them.
“We gather one year later to remember Shawn Pine and Roz Schulte – Americans whose lives stand in the tradition of many patriots who have gone before,” said Army Brig. Gen. Anne MacDonald, assisting commanding general of police development. “We remember them for the example they set in the way they lived their lives. We gather to recount their bravery, to acknowledge their heroism and to accept their sacrifice. By their sacrifice, we the living are called upon to live up to the values they held. We are called upon to laugh and smile as they once did, to respect and to watch over each other, to cherish and defend freedom for ourselves and the Afghan people.”
Lieutenant Schulte is a native of St. Louis and is the first female Academy graduate killed in action. In 2006, she was commissioned as an intelligence officer and assigned to Pacific Air Forces’ Directorate of Intelligence at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. She volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan in February 2009 and was assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan CJ2 directorate. Here, she served as a trainer and mentor to the Afghan National Army.
“Some parents would be appalled at the behavior of their children away from home, but Mr. and Mrs. Schulte should be so proud – the character of the daughter they raised came right over here to Afghanistan,” said Vernon Easley, who worked with Lieutenant Schulte in the CJ2 directorate. “Roz treated everyone with respect and dignity. She carried herself in every way with confidence, courage and conviction. She was all about the mission – training the Afghans with enduring skills and concepts, and building their capacity to help themselves.”
Mr. Pine was a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. He served several active duty tours in the former Soviet Central Asian Republics as a counterintelligence advisor. In 2008, he accepted a job with Military Professional Resources Incorporated Afghanistan as a counterintelligence mentor working in CJ2.
“I knew Shawn Pine as well as anybody who was with us on that day,” said Michael Ricky, a Joint Regional Coordination Center intelligence mentor with Military Professional Resources Inc. “He was a man of many aspects and many people – seemingly very complex, but in reality a very simple man. He had a candid, in-your-face honesty about him, and he had a way of bringing people together.”
On the one-year anniversary of their deaths, their fellow CJ2 members honored them with two small ceremonies at Camp Eggers and Sia Sang. On Camp Eggers, Larry’s House was renamed to “Roz’s House,” and a connex building was named “Shawn’s Place.” Both buildings are occupied by CJ2.
After the ceremony at Camp Eggers, several members of CJ2 and the Afghan G2 held a similar ceremony at Sia Sang, the Afghan intelligence training complex, where two buildings were named “Pine’s Place” and “Schulte’s Place.”
“As we gather here to honor Shawn and Roz today, we also place pictures and plaques so that those who follow us in this mission will have a visible reminder of our friends, our teammates and comrades in arms,” Mr. Easley said. “As long as we have a mission here and these buildings stand, they’ll pay testament to the two Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice. When we finally depart, let us not forget them and let not the memories fade.”
“As long as we can, we honor them and cherish them in our hearts and minds,” Mr. Ricky added. “But the way to really honor their memory, both of them, is the way they would want us to – that is to soldier on. Look toward the future; don’t just wait for something to happen or ask what happened – make it happen.”