CAMP FILM CITY, Kosovo — When 2nd Lt. Csilla Egyed was six years old, she and her friends attended an open house at a Hungarian Defense Forces barracks. She climbed onto one of the tanks and sat down. As she breathed in and looked around, the smell of gasoline in the air, she felt a rush of excitement.“And I decided right there, in that spot, ‘I’m going to be a soldier,’” said Egyed.More than 20 years later, Egyed has made her childhood dream a reality, but not before pursuing another passion. She attended university in Hungary, where she earned a master’s degree in sociology and studied cultural anthropology. In the years since, Egyed has worked at shelters and youth institutions, where she used her knowledge of sociology to help others.“When I look back, I’m really happy I did not join the army before my studies,” said Egyed. “I have a lot of experience I can use.”Egyed is now putting those skills to use as a member of the Civil-Military Cooperation and Psychological Operation Center with the HDF. She’s currently serving in support of the NATO-led Kosovo Force, Regional Command-East, an organization dedicated to the safety, security and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.Being able to serve in the HDF while practicing social work has been a perfect combination for Egyed.“I was waiting for this deployment,” said Egyed. “Training at home is good, but that’s an artificial environment. Being here, doing the actual job, that gives you the true experience and joy of the work.”As the officer in charge of a liaison monitoring team, she’s tasked with coordinating routine patrols in local communities and helping her soldiers build relationships with the population. Stationed at Camp Film City, Egyed said you only scratch the surface if you stay on base. Going out on community patrols, like the one she conducted on Dec. 8 in Podujevë/Podujevo, and meeting people is her favorite part of the job.Egyed is one of two women serving within her LMT. While this can be challenging sometimes, she said she doesn’t think of herself as a female, but as a member of the team. Egyed is also afforded unique opportunities to connect with women in Kosovo who may be more comfortable discussing certain topics with her.“We’re responsible, for example, for gender topics,” said Egyed. “It’s so much easier if we’re both females because they’re more open with us.”Egyed’s engagement with the people of Kosovo is also bolstered by her ability to speak fluent English. She is a certified interpreter and worked in that capacity full-time before transitioning to her current position. Her translating experience gave her a deeper appreciation for the interpreters who work within Kosovo.Egyed said she is thankful for the ability to express herself and better understand the community’s needs and remains mindful of the strain interpreters can feel when acting as bridges between different groups of people.“Whenever I work with an interpreter, I always try to put myself in their place and perform meetings in a slower manner,” she said. “I don’t talk too much because I know what it’s like to have to interpret for five minutes at a time.”Her English language skills also allow her to better interact with international counterparts serving as LMTs, including U.S. and Polish soldiers, among others. Because of this, and because of the notable effort she puts into her mission each day, Egyed’s skills have been noticed outside her team.U.S. Army 1st Lt. Parker Mooney, the LMT chief of RC-E’s central area of responsibility, called Egyed a professional who accomplishes great work with minimal guidance. The best example, he said, was when she crafted a detailed report on schools in her area, changing how LMTs collect and relay information on educational institutions.“The results spoke to a high degree of cooperation she built with the schools,” said Mooney. “She knows how to guide conversations and dig deeper on certain topics.”One of the primary goals for KFOR is to assist the institutions in Kosovo in becoming self-sufficient and confident to support their communities. In the future, it would be ideal for LMTs to transition into only a monitoring role, said Egyed.From imagining being a Soldier as a child, to wearing the uniform each day and helping to lift people up, Egyed has truly realized her dream.For more National Guard newsNational Guard FacebookNational Guard Twitter