From Golani to Kabul's killing fields

Tribute to ex-IDF soldier, US ranger Shawn Pine who died in Afghanistan.

us soldier funeral 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
us soldier funeral 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Friends and colleagues of an Israeli-American intelligence contractor killed in Afghanistan saw him laid to rest on Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Shawn Pine, a former US Army Ranger working as a contractor training Afghan army soldiers, was killed in a roadside bomb in Kabul last month. A lieutenant-colonel in the US Army Reserves, he also served in the IDF and wrote extensively on military policies of Middle Eastern nations and Israel. The blast also killed another Jewish officer, First-Lt. Roslyn Schulte, 25. On Tuesday, Pine's family - who live in San Antonio, Texas - mourned the intensively private man who friends and colleagues said often appeared tough on the outside. "Beneath the rough exterior beat a heart of gold that only a few people knew," a friend said at a memorial service. "Shawn chose a life where nothing was about him. It was always about the other guy, and he wanted it that way." Born in 1958, Pine grew up in a military family. The son of a sergeant-major in the US Army, Pine grew up on army bases and made aliya with his family at age 17, after his father's death. He served in the Golani Brigade, and spent time in Sinai. Following his discharge, he graduated from Georgetown University, where he majored in foreign relations. Later, he earned a master's in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Texas. After college, Pine was commissioned into the US Army, where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion Ranger Regiment. In 1995, Pine returned to Israel to study international relations at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. He also completed his Israeli reserve duty at that time. His career was not without tumult, and in 2001 Pine accused the US Army of stripping him of his security clearance because of his close ties to Israel. "They're looking for Jewish officers," he said at the time in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The Army denied the charge and said Pine's clearance had been revoked because of a new rule preventing anyone with dual citizenship from having top security clearance. Six months later, a US Army appeals board ruled that the procedure for revoking Pine's security clearance was faulty and decided to reinstate the clearance. He was a member of the active reserve at the time. In recent years, Pine expressed his support for Israel in his writing - for Israel Affairs, The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, The Jerusalem Post and others. He published four policy papers for the Ariel Center for Policy Research. In 2003, he wrote an article for the arts and politics journal Nativ, in which he argued that Egypt's military expenditures were closer to $14 billion than $2.7b., as the country was reporting officially. "What Shawn Pine did, excellently, he took all the numbers and the cost of arms, every bullet and tank, and came to the true numbers," said Arieh Stav, director of the Ariel Center and editor of Nativ, who worked briefly with Pine. Stav called it an "important" article that shed light on how much money Egypt was really spending on defense. "If you check, as Shawn Pine did, you find you have a country which is prepared for war," he said.