Pale, August 30, 1995. Intense detonations shook the town.

Young Serbian officer Aleksandar Studen spotted enemy aircraft clearly and for long enough that the sensors on his 9K38 Igla portable missile system locked in on the heat from the aircraft’s engine. With a cool head, calm and determined, he launched a missile at the target immediately after the maneuver. All he knew was that it was an enemy NATO aircraft, one of many that had spent the day bombing the positions of his fellow fighters and compatriots. It only took a few moments for the missile to reach the target, shooting down the French jet fighter Mirage 2000.

On that day, young Aleksandar became a hero.

The French pilots ejected and were captured by the Serbian forces shortly after. The pilots were released to French forces on December 13, 1995. General Ratko Mladić was present for the release.