Home Archives The Vanishing Soldier

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Witness: Elmer Kilred
Location: Posovina Corridor, Bosnia
Date of Encounter: January 1996

I was deployed with the First Armored Division for the U.S. Army in December of 1995. I was a scout in a scout unit that was required to perform route reconnaissance for the movement of the First Armored Division into the former republics of Yugoslavia. During the time our troop spent in Bosnia in a place coined by the military as the Posovina Corridor, our troop had experienced unexplainable happenings.

Our troop was encamped in a cattle pasture outside of a town that had been ethnically cleansed. The place was in the country and to access the location you had to have some sort of tracked vehicle to navigate the dirt roads in the area. Most of the places in the Posovina Corridor were abandoned due to fighting between Bosnians, Croats, and Serbs. Between January and February of 1996, I do not remember getting too much sleep as we were on patrol most of the time, or nailing down and negotiating the withdrawal and clean up of weapons and landmines from an area occupied by one of the various factions declaring turf. 

If snow and ice were not on the ground, it was so muddy that traveling by foot was a real hassle. Near our encampment one of the sections had to be called back due to activity in the area. The section was relaying information up to command of a possible soldier/sniper in their area. The snow on the ground was loose and tracks in the ground were present proving that someone was running around scouting our encampment from the empty town. The section saw the soldier inside one of the houses and proceeded to subdue him. With a fresh cover of snow on the ground there were only one set of boot prints into the house. With a section of three Bradley Fighting Vehicles on the outside of the house on the road, and soldiers following the trail of boot prints, there was nowhere for this soldier to go. When the dismounted soldiers arrived at the room in the house where the soldier was, he was nowhere to be found. His tracks ended at the window and there were no places to hide. This was one of the many things we would encounter in Bosnia… this was just one of the things that happened to get reported up higher which was not commented on other than that the section was told to carry on and continue on their patrol.

A few weeks later I was on guard duty on the front gate of our encampment with another soldier from our tanker platoon. We had a fire barrel to keep us dry while the snow had melted leaving mud everywhere. Our four hour shift was around its halfway point at three in the morning. Johnson (not his actual name) and I had watched a Bosnian soldier trod though the mud up to the gate of our encampment. We could hear him coming up to the gate and there was enough light to make out the uniform of the soldier. While I was covered by Johnson, I walked to the gate to get a closer look at the solder. He got to the gate and looked like he had been working in the same clothes for at least a month. When I met the Bosnian soldier at the front gate he just seemed interested in having a cigarette. I gave him one of mine and lit it for him. I leaned over concertina wire to light the cigarette in his mouth while he shielded the wind from putting out my lighter. He waved and turned to leave and so I turned around to leave the gate and Johnson freaked. He said, "Where the … did he go?!" I turned around and the soldier had disappeared cigarette and all. Johnson and I decided not to report the activity to our guard commander. There are a lot more things that occurred, but the ghost things never seemed to bother me; it was the things that people did or had done to one another that gave me chills.

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