Admiration Worthy Courage of Sergeant First Class Ivan Ristić
Saving the life of an unfortunate woman, Sergeant First Class Ivan Ristić, Commander of a Rifle Platoon in the 11th Infantry Battalion of the First Brigade, did not flinch from a crazed attacker. Exposing his life to a knife blade he showed all his determination and courage that decorate a member of the Serbian Armed Forces and he deserved undivided admiration and respect of the unit collective and the entire public as well.
An autumn morning of 5th November, just another work morning for Sergeant First Class Ristić, did not indicate that he would, in a couple of minutes, bear witness and become a participant in a bloody fight which took place at the fair, across the street from the gate of the barracks “Stevica Jovanović“ in Pančevo where Ristić works.
- While I was preparing to leave by car to execute an official task in Novi Sad, I noticed a man hitting a woman on the head with some kind of a stick with all his might. I could not believe my eyes. When the stick broke from the blows, the man took something from his car and headed again towards the woman who was lying on the ground. I noticed that he was holding a knife in his hand and he started frantically stabbing the woman’s body. Everything happened almost in a blink of an eye… A mass of people around… Some of them watching without any interest, some going away in fear, turning their heads from the bloody sight. No one approached to assist already weakened woman who was screaming – Sergeant First Class Ristić retells.
Without thinking, he jumped from the vehicle, ran across the road and threw himself with all his force on the attacker.
- There was just one thought in my mind – to take away the knife. Both attacker and I fell on the ground. I managed to sit on top of him, with the knee of one leg I pressed the arm that was holding the knife, and with the other knee I pressed under his chin. None of the civilians approached at least to help me. I saw driver, Corporal Jovan Đokić and First Sergeant Goran Vasić the guard commander running to me. We managed to take the knife from the attacker and we threw him on a bonnet of a parked car. One of the observers had already called the ambulance and the Police but the time was passing and no one arrived. The ambulance arrived, and it was the military ambulance from our barracks. They provided assistance to the stabbed woman and placed her in the ambulance. We were holding the frenzied attacker with the bloodshot eyes until the Police arrived. Never have I seen that look in a man, the look of a killer, but I also cannot forget the pale and bloody body of the unfortunate woman. Only after everything that had happened did I wish that she survived that brutal attack – Ristić said and added that in those moments he did not thing about himself, his family, or the possible consequences. It was only important for him to safe the human life.
- I try to understand the people, their (non)reaction and fear in the situations when they can get hurt, or even lose their life helping others. And yet, the uniform of the Serbian Armed Forces is something entirely different, which does not flinch in the face of danger. Every member of my unit would do this, every member of the Serbian Armed Forces, without any doubt and hesitation. This is how we were taught! - Sergeant First Class Ivan Ristić concluded.