Joint partners clear brush, build camaraderie before major medical exercise
More than 150 Bosnian-Herzegovinian and U.S. military members cleared brush and overgrown vegetation at the Hutovo Blato National Forest here May 27.
U.S. and Bosnian-Herzegovinian military members clear brush and overgrown vegetation at the Hutovo Blato National Forest here May 27, 2012. More than 150 Bosnian-Herzegovinian military and firefighters and U.S. service members worked together at the national forest to clean up damage caused by a fire in 2011. The goal of the event was to build camaraderie between the partnered nations before beginning Shared Resilience 2012, an annual U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored exercise May 28 - June 8.
1 photo: U.S. and Bosnian-Herzegovinian military members clear brush and overgrown vegetation at the Hutovo Blato National Forest.
Photo 1 of 1: U.S. and Bosnian-Herzegovinian military members clear brush and overgrown vegetation at the Hutovo Blato National Forest here May 27, 2012. More than 150 Bosnian-Herzegovinian military and firefighters and U.S. service members worked together at the national forest to clean up damage caused by a fire in 2011. The goal of the event was to build camaraderie between the partnered nations before beginning Shared Resilience 2012, an annual U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored exercise May 28 - June 8. Download full-resolution version

CAPLJINA, Bosnia and Herzegovina - More than 150 Bosnian-Herzegovinian and U.S. military members cleared brush and overgrown vegetation at the Hutovo Blato National Forest here May 27.

The goal of the event was to build camaraderie between the partnered nations before beginning the Shared Resilience 2012 Exercise, an annual U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored exercise taking place May 28 - June 8.

"This event is important, because it allows us to get out and work side by side with our hosts and show them we're not afraid to get our hands dirty," said U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Marks, Shared Resilience 2012 co-director. "It builds a level of trust. They see we have a good work ethic, and we're hard workers. We are not afraid to dig in and do whatever it takes to get the job done."

A forest fire last year destroyed some of the wooded areas in the national forest. This year's warmer weather and increased rainfall led to the growth of more underbrush, which may yet fuel other forest fires. The wildfire threat can endanger park tourists and migratory European birds as they fly south for winter.

"Generally, we're making this place safer," said Bosnian-Herzegovinian army Brig. Gen. Ivica Jerkic, SR12 co-director. "It's good to work with other [nation's military members], and it's our commitment to cooperate with other countries in our neighborhood."

It is also important for people to get to know each other before the exercise begins, continued Jerkic.

Marks said that working together beforehand makes it easier to come together during future contingency operations.

"You don't have that phase where you have to get to know each other as you start off," Marks said. "We've already built that level here."

Service members from different U.S. military branches also worked in the team-building event. Soldiers, airmen and Marines were among those who participated.

"It's fun to integrate with other U.S. forces and the host nation," said Los Angeles native U.S. Army Spec. Yadira Guerad, 196th Medical Support Unit, 7th Civil Support Command. "We got to come together and form a community."

The U.S. and Bosnia-Herzegovina communities will continue to work together as SR12 begins this week. However, events like the brush clearing show that the cooperation between the two countries extends beyond exercise completion.

"It shows that we're here more than just to do the exercise and go home," Marks said. "It's about being good partners." 

Trying to find something?
Search on any term here:
;