By Sgt. Kerensa Hardy
First published in
SFOR Informer#106, February 7, 2001
Butmir - They are the first people you see upon
entering Camp Butmir.
This peculiar group of soldiers who don a moon and star on their
right shoulders are the Turkish guards. Members of the 1st Protection
Company, Turkish Army, are Camp Butmir's first line of defense
against any potential threat.
soldiers are broken up into teams and work 12-hour shifts to provide
all-around perimeter security, gate control and identification
card checks," said Capt. Yuksel Basaran, 1st Protection Coy
guards are responsible for monitoring and controlling all of the
traffic that enters and exits Camp Butmir. Identification cards
must be checked to ensure persons coming on base are authorized
to be there. Before coming to Butmir, the guards are well trained
in their own country. To qualify as guards, the soldiers go through
an extensive six-month training program in Turkey. The program
includes basic as well as mission-oriented training.
here, the soldiers undergo orientation training that lasts approximately
four weeks. During this time the soldiers are familiarized with
the local mission at Camp Butmir.
"They need to be oriented according to the weather and (other)
conditions," Basaran said. "In Turkey they don't have
a training area that's on the same security scale as they will
be working at Camp Butmir."
guards deploy here on one-year rotations. Each rotation overlaps
so that the mission is never hindered and the rotations go smoothly.
"This is a good experience because (the soldiers) are not
in their hometown," Basaran said. He added that the soldiers
are happy to be here to implement such a mission.
Kursat Kumral said although his job is demanding, he is happy
to be here. When he is on duty, he is the first person with whom
people come in contact because he is the person who grants them
permission to enter the camp.
Kumral said he enjoys the chance to communicate with so many different
people. He also said he has learned about soldiers from different
countries and cultures, which has broadened his mind.
Turkish guard said he is very proud to be here representing his
country. "This is a really good feeling for me," said
Pvt. Ahmet Ozbey, who has been here for nine months.
so many different soldiers, there are sure to be a variety of
memories and lessons each one will take back to Turkey with him.
Ozbey said what he will remember most about his yearlong tour
at Camp Butmir is teaching his new American friend many Turkish
words in one day. "That was what was most enjoyable for me."
Nations of SFOR: Turkey
SFOR at Work