By 2nd Lt. Alexandre Barbé
First published in
SFOR Informer#112, May 3, 2001
About 10 Turkish engineers of the battalion based
in Zenica and 18 American engineers of Company C, 648th Engineers
Battalion, from Eagle Base, worked hard together for three days
to re-deck Maoca bridge.
Maoca - For a first try, it was a complete success.
On April 25, under a wonderful and welcomed sunshine, trucks and
cars could cross again upon Maoca bridge safely. The drivers wore
a large smile, the engineers too.
really enjoyed working with American engineers. I didn't expect
such good team work," said Turkish Sgt. Arda Atalik. American
2nd Lt. David Henderson, leader of the American team on the ground
said he was also very satisfied. "That was the first time
we worked together and all went very well. Besides, we ended the
work faster than planned," he said.
"We learned to work with safety first and we appreciated
their professionalism. We exchanged our phone numbers and addresses
and we'll try to keep in touch," said Turkish Master Sgt.
Elir Dzer, deputy commander of the engineer team that comprises
about 30 men in Zenica.
the work didn't go on by itself. "The American engineer battalion
asked us if there were bridges that needed to be repaired. One
of our patrols reported on the situation of this bridge and we
decided to mend it," Dzer explained.
"We came to make our own reconnaissance. The bridge needed
to be re-decked on more than 30 percent of its surface. There
were holes and it became dangerous," Henderson stated.
The work began April 23; the Americans brought on trucks the tools
and the needed materials for the day. But the works were many
times interrupted. The engineers had to stop the trucks and the
cars driving through the bridge on the "Acorn" road
that links Zavidovici to Olovo.
tried not to stop the trucks too long in order that they didn't
lose too much time in their job," Henderson affirmed. "It
delayed a little bit our work but it was not a real problem,"
Dzer added. The local police helped them by providing traffic
The feet in the sawdust, the chain saw strongly handed, American
Spec. Donald Parsons cut the last planks. "I hope that we'll
work again with the Turks," Henderson said. He will not have
to wait long for an answer. The Turks just learned from their
headquarters that other joints bridging projects were to be, and
Related link: Engineering - bridge
Nations of SFOR: Turkey,