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    EUCOM’s humanitarian mine action: Informing the public in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    EUCOM’s humanitarian mine action: Informing the public in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Photo By Capt. Benjamin Hughes | Members of the Maryland National Guard worked with the Armed Forces of Bosnia and...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Thaddeus Harrington 

    Maryland National Guard Public Affairs Office

    Members of the Maryland National Guard worked with the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH) June 13-17, 2016, to train their public affairs officers on equipment provided under European Command’s Humanitarian Mine Action program. This combined effort operated in the areas of Prozor, Derventa and Sanski Most. Much of the training focused on helping AF BiH public affairs officers in how to use digital cameras for photos/videos. The training also included editing and producing communication products to better inform the public on the demining operations throughout the nation.

    “It’s great to see their enthusiasm for the new laptops and cameras,” said 1Lt. Benjamin Hughes, 175th Wing PAO, Maryland Air National Guard. “Now they have the tools to tell their great story – how they’re making the country safe.

    During the civil war that raged in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 it has been estimated that combatants laid more than two million mines, leading to one of the most severe land mine issues in the world.

    “Our soldiers are doing great work. I am so happy that we are getting the training and will have the equipment to help us tell their story,” said Capt. Jasmina Kamber Omerbegovic, member of the Joint Staff, AF BiH. “It is our obligation to inform the public on our progress. They’re [demining soldiers] are doing so many good things, clearing areas and even brining food to some people who live in remote areas.”

    The Maryland National Guard and Bosnia and Herzegovina have worked together, since 2003, through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP). 13 years of combined SPP events and exercises has formed an enduring bond between the two organizations and provides an ideal working environment to conduct HMA missions.

    “The public needs to know that we are making progress and clearing areas,” said Lt. Dragoslav Krcmar, demining team member, Tactical Support Brigade. “I enjoy seeing the looks on peoples’ faces when we tell them that it is safe to use the land. Two years-ago we cleared that field (in Derventa) and now they are farming on it.”

    European Command’s HMA program provides partner nations with events and equipment to help develop their infrastructure capability to eliminate landmine hazards. The program also helps the partnering nations to educate the population on the hazards of landmines, the explosive remnants of war, assisting landmine victims, and returning the cleared land for economic use.

    “This is important because the people don’t really know what the armed forces do in their everyday jobs, especially with the humanitarian demining assistance they’re doing all over the county,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Smith, Defense Media Support Element.



    Date Taken: 06.17.2016
    Date Posted: 06.17.2016 16:13
    Story ID: 201603
    Location: SARAJEVO, BA 

    Web Views: 139
    Downloads: 0