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A constructive celebration

By 1Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#107, February 21, 2001

Okucani - The Hungarian Engineer Contingent (HEC) is the only Hungarian SFOR military unit. Based in Okucani (Croatia), the Engineers have carried out projects all over the Theatre since their arrival 16th of January 1996. Now they celebrate five years of construction in BiH.
And a considerable amount of work they have done. Over 360 projects carried out in all, including 88 projects during IFOR. 30 bridges with a total length of 2100 metres have been launched. Seven bridges have been de-launched. 32.4 kilometres road have been built and repaired, while 65 kilometres railway have been mended. The Engineers have mine-cleared more than 200 000 square metres and conducted 2210 diving operations. Among other construction works are 1800 square metres of parking lots, 27 helicopter landing sites, clearance of 2600 square metres of riverbeds, and 250 metres of sewage system.
To mark their accomplishments during the past five years the HEC invited Hungary's Ambassadors in BiH and Croatia Mr. Kalman Kocsis and Mr. Gyorgy Csoti. Also Chief of the Hungarian Joint General Staff General Lajos Fodor, Chief of the Hungarian Army Staff Maj. General Ferenc Gyorossy, SFOR ACOS Support Brig. General Claudio Sampaolo, all previous HEC commanders, and other distinguished guests from SFOR and Hungary. But the focus was of course on the hosts, the HEC.
"The forces of the Contingent have been making a name and prestige for themselves over the last five years. It's shown activity in the peacekeeping mission has been instrumental in forming a positive image about Hungarian Defence Forces, Hungarian soldiers abroad, and proved that the Hungarian Defence Forces are ready and have the ability to participate in international operations" said General Fodor.
Since Hungary joined NATO in 1999, this country therefore served in SFOR first as a Partnership for Peace (PfP) country, and then as a full NATO member.
Brig. General Sampaolo brought with him greetings from COMSFOR and stated that the Hungarian Engineers should be proud of their accomplishments.
"COMSFOR and I are fully aware of the contributions you make towards the success of the SFOR mission. Contributions and commitments you have been performing in such an outstanding fashion for five years", he said.
After lunch with the engineers, the guests were shown around the camp, visiting the different offices and workshops.
The Hungarian engineer contingent counts at present 205 personnel, and is made up of HQ, HQ coy, Floating Bridge coy, Road & Bridge coy, and Logistics coy. They are directly under the command of SFOR HQ Engineer Branch, and are tasked with all types of engineering-works throughout the Theatre.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Hungary