Daughter of Kosovo Martyr Joins US Army

Twenty-four years after the heroic death of the martyr Rrahman Tafa, one of his daughters has donned military uniform— not Kosovo’s but the US Army’s.

Rrahman Tafa once put on military uniform to fight for the freedom of his homeland. Twenty-four years after his death, his daughter, Mirjeta, has continued on the same path as her father – wearing the clothes of the army that freed Kosovo, those of the US Army.

Photo courtesy of Mirjeta Tafa.

Although Mirjeta Tafa does not remember her father who was martyred in the Kosovo war, she was inspired by his sacrifice to join the US Army.

Two days ahead of the 15th anniversary of the independence of Kosovo, Mirjeta Tafa graduated as a soldier of the US Army, in the fourth rank, as a specialist, the highest rank with which a soldier can start. On one side of the garment is written US Army, on the other, the surname Tafa.

I didn’t get to know my father that much, or almost at all, but with the choice I made, I feel like I understand the personality and courage behind him.

One day after graduation, on the way to Virginia, the 29-year-old who moved to America a few years ago told Prishtina Insight about her experience of her path in the Army.

“Joining the strongest army in the world for me is the highest achievement I have done in life. In those moments [when she graduated] I thought about my father, and I missed my family a lot, my mother, brother and two sisters who could not be present to celebrate this success of mine,” she told us.

On April 19, 1999, Rrahman Tafa, from Carraleva in Shtime, together with other comrades guarding the Kosovo border during the fighting against Serbian forces, was killed on the Koshare front – where national hero Agim Ramadani was the commander.

Photo courtesy of Mirjeta Tafa.

Mirjeta Tafa is now part of the US National Guard. Its main task is to respond to state-level emergencies, such as natural disasters, ‘but for everything else we are always ready to serve”.

Being part of an army and wearing a soldier’s clothes was her dream since childhood precisely because of the sacrifice of her father, who holds the title of “martyr of the nation”.

“I didn’t get to know my father that much, or almost at all, but with the choice I made, I feel like I understand the personality and courage behind him. It seems to me that I’m making this journey with him, because he has been and will always remain my motivation to continue my career in the US Army,” Tafa explained.

Her journey towards the US Army started in the summer of last year, after she contacted a recruiter who helped her with the documentation.

“The whole experience in these 10 weeks had its own special moments that I will never forget, but the best and most exciting moment was graduation day,” she said.

Tafa had to learn unknown English words, paragraph summaries, geometry, arithmetic and science to pass the written test.

Initially, she passed the test to become part of the basic training of the US Army known as basic combat training. She started basic training on November 21 last year and for 10 weeks learned everything a soldier needs to know about starting a career in the army.

The mission of the US Army is vital to the Nation because they are in service to defeat enemy ground forces and to capture and control indefinitely those things an adversary values most – its land, resources and population.

Photo courtesy of Mirjeta Tafa.

In 2021, there were 482,416 active members in the U.S. Army, according to the data.

“I learned starting from the creation of discipline to qualification in weapons, learning strategies about how always to perform as a group, under stress and fatigue; we spent nights in improvised battlefields, did many walks, carrying different weights on the arm,” Tafa recalled.

Her success in basic training qualified Mirjeta to be part of the group of the eight best soldiers to compete for the title of soldier of the cycle. Even though she did not win that title, she is very happy that the sergeants encouraged her to participate in that race.

For 26 years, Mirjeta lived on her father’s land in Carralevë, of Shtime. But in February 2020, she moved to New York, seeing America as a place of opportunities and support for the dreams of people who want to achieve something in life.

Before her move to America, Tafa completed her higher studies at the University of Prishtina at the Faculty of Law and at the same time studied Business and Management at Universum College. After completing her bachelor’s studies, she continued master studies in International Relations.

Mirjeta says that her success in higher education in Kosovo has facilitated her success in America.

Photo courtesy of Mirjeta Tafa.

“I am very proud that even though I come from a new country like Kosovo, I managed to make many young Americans learn where Kosovo is, and a little bit about our history,” Tafa emphasized.

“Being a girl, I believe, has made the story even more special – how determined and courageous Albanian girls and women are, capable and victorious in every challenge,” she added.

Her journey in the US Army has just begun. She plans to reach as high as possible and soon start officers’ school.


17 February 2023 - 11:55

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