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Bulgarian and Dutch, engineers in common

By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#106, February 7, 2001

Bugojno - Wind and snow. All atmospheric conditions were combined to make the work of the engineers hard.
Ventilation chambers were hauled up on the roof of several Corimecs intended to take some ammunitions and then plugged in. In spite of the cold, the operation was carried out quickly.
A heavy task still awaited the Bulgarian soldiers integrated in the Engineer Company of the 44th Dutch Battle Group. The next closing of Busovaca camp will entail the delivery of weapons and explosives, which must be stocked in the best conditions.
"They are excellent professionals," said Warrant Officer 2 Gerard Van Heel. Dutch sappers have learned to work with these new colleagues since the November 3 arrival of the Bulgarian battalion commanded by Capt. Jordan Ivanov. The cooperation is now exemplary between the two teams.
"At the beginning, the hardest (was) the language gap. But there is always a way to understand people on a building site. Especially when they really know their job," said Van Heel. Among the 28 men of the Bulgarian battalion, there were electricians, carpenters, bricklayers and plumbers. "We are taking part in the construction of the camp and the servicing of technical installations," said Sgt. Maj. Miroslav Grigorov. Several Bulgarian sappers have been distinguished for the installation, in less than two weeks, of four tents used for the storage and like workshops.
Before traveling to BiH, Bulgarians followed intensive training in their own country and in Netherlands. "Our engineers have an instruction on equipment and safety regulations in force in the Dutch army," said Capt. Petko Petkov, battalion doctor. "Every week, our engineers are signing a document specifying they are scrupulously respecting the safety regulations. That's why to date we (do not) have any accidents to deplore."
Placed under the Dutch command, Bulgarians have the chance of taking part in various missions outside the camp. The dismantling of a military bridge with Dutch, British, New Zealander and Czech engineers permitted them to see how the other nations work. "Our participation at the multinational force is a wealth of teachings because it is getting us used to new techniques and equipment," said Capt. Petko Petkov.
Bulgarians are also placing themselves in the service of the local population.
Hearing that an old woman was living alone in a dilapidated house at Jurici, they made her windows and a new door. "We are feeling very close (to) the BiH population because our respective language (is) not very far away," said the battalion doctor. A closeness that these men are cultivating with their Dutch colleges ensure the smooth running of Bugojno camp.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Bulgaria, Netherland
SFOR at Work