POW left 'thank you' note for Serb guards
May 4, 1999
LANDSTUHL, Germany (CNN) -- Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone, one of three U.S. soldiers held in Yugoslavia for more than a month, wrote a note of thanks to a small group of Serbian guards when he learned he would be released, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.
Yugoslav government officials gave a copy of it to CNN's Brent Sadler in Belgrade.
Col. Mike Sullivan, an Army spokesman, released a statement that said the unsolicited note was left for guards, who Stone felt treated him with dignity and respect. It reads:
Thank you (Hvala),
To all the Serbian guards of this prison. Thank you for your kindness and respect. I have much liking for Serbian people after this and I will continue to pray to God for (peace sign) and an end to this war.
Thank you mostly for the cigarettes you have gave me! Bog D Bomogo.
Chris Stone "Slobodan" Hvala lepo, Vrlo ste ljubanzi
The meaning of the words before "Sincerely" is unclear, but could be a misspelling of a Serbian phrase that roughly translates into "May God help you" or "Go with God."
"Slobodan" was the nickname guards gave Stone. Besides being the first name of President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia, it means "freedom" in Serbian.
The last phrase means "thank you for your kindness."
The Army statement said Stone's treatment from the guards contrasted sharply with that from the soldiers who captured him. The statement also said that Stone's note does not reflect a lack of support for his mission or NATO policy.
Stone, 25, of Smiths Creek, Michigan, was released Sunday along with Staff Sgt. Andrew Ramirez, 24 of Los Angeles, California; and Specialist Steven Gonzales, 22, of Huntsville, Texas. The three were taken into custody in late March along the Yugoslav-Macedonian border.
Officer: Freed soldiers possibly mistreated
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