Math teacher Mr. Skokan deployed to Kosovo

By Michael Lang

Mr. Skokan, a United States Army National Guardsman, is being deployed to Kosovo in Eastern Europe for a year, beginning in January of 2020.

While Mr. Skokan’s role doesn’t fully entail the aspects of active duty personnel when not deployed, it does include training that occurs at least once a month and two or more continuous weeks a year. However, National Guardsmen complete the same training as active duty Soldiers, and attend the same Army schools as their active duty counterparts.

This gives Mr. Skokan the opportunity to serve part time while still carrying out a civilian career.

Additionally, this is his first deployment anywhere as a National Guardsman.

“Five years ago, we were supposed to go to Afghanistan, but there was a draw down at the time, so our deployment was cancelled,” Mr. Skokan said. “This [mission] is a go.”

As such, the federal government plays a part in allocating soldiers to certain areas where additional support is needed. In the case of Mr. Skokan, Oregon Army National Guardsmen are being sent to Kosovo due to past turmoil in that country.

Following World War II, modern-day Kosovo was established as a province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with Serbs primarily making up the ethnic group of the region. In addition, the predominant religion was Christian Orthodox, which conflicted with the Islamic religion of many Albanians, the former majority ethnic group that resided within the region of Kosovo.

By the 1980s, many Albanians living in Kosovo rioted and called for the independence of the country. Albanian leaders organized a referendum, declaring Kosovo independent in 1991.

Serbia responded with repressive actions and later conducted a campaign that led to massacres and expulsions of ethnic Albanians from their homes, displacing thousands.

This further escalated to the involvement of NATO forces. In 1999, NATO began airstrikes over Serbian forces for 11 weeks until a peace accord was signed in June.

Since then, tensions have begun to ease within Kosovo. However, sporadic violence continued to occur early in the 21st century with riots claiming the lives of several individuals.

NATO forces have been deployed to Kosovo during the country’s recovery since then, including U.S. forces, including the brigade Mr. Skokan is in, the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

The entire mission for Mr. Skokan will begin on January 4th and, because of this, a few structural changes to the math department have been made.

Mr. Cowal is now the head of the math department, taking on the former role of Mr. Skokan. Calculus classes have also been shifted to different teachers in the absence of Mr. Skokan.

While Jesuit will miss Mr. Skokan when he leaves, many students continue to respect the duties of teachers at Jesuit that have served.

“I am honored to have teachers that have served us before and are serving us now,” senior Kyle Leglar said.