Emerald Expedition: a gem of a challenge

Capt. Rhoda Frampton
First published in
SFOR Informer#138, May 9, 2002

Wet, windy and winding is what approximately 300 SFOR military personnel from eight different nations stationed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina braved on April 17, during Expedition Emerald.

Bugojno - The Expedition took place in Multinational Division Southwest (MND-SW) on what is known as route Emerald, a 35-km trek from the Dutch based units of Bugojno and Novi Travnik. This event was organised by Lt. Marnix Felius and Sgt. Maj. Smits. "It was the idea of Pte. Labaar, he wanted to have a road march and have T-shirts, " said Felius. All three are based in Novi Travnik.
From 0830 hours to 1645 hours

This was a first time endeavour with the emphasis placed on participation rather than that of a race. There were both group and individual efforts in what could only be described as a gruelling route, with steep elevation and heavy showers. The expedition started between 0830 hours and 1000 hours with the last participant crossing the finish line at 1645 hours.

"I started at 0835 hours and finished it in exactly five hours," said Capt. Peter Fraser, as he jokingly referred to himself as the lone Kiwi participant. "The weather was actually good because it was not too hot. I've done this sort of thing in hot weather and it is much, much harder." Fraser works out of MND-SW Headquarters with G5 as a liaison officer for Canton One of the Federation.
Participants from the various countries in this first time event included Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Great and good
"It was great, I feel tired but it was nice to do it in the rain," said Lance Cpl. Bianca Romijn, from the Netherlands stationed out of Bugojno.
"It was good, hard work as well, but we all got here in one piece," said Staff Sgt. David Alleyne, who came across the finish line with five members of the United Kingdom's Signals Squadron based in Banja Luka.

"We think it went great, everybody was in a good mood, a lot of blisters, but everyone had a good time and they all received a certificate and a T-shirt," said Felius. "We are hoping that this will continue."

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Photo: Cpl. Grant Rivalin

Tired and wet but not beaten, soldiers take on the challenge presented by Expedition Emerald, the 35-km trek between Bugojno and Novi Travnik.

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Photo: Cpl. Lee Purvis

Capt. Peter Fraser, the lone Kiwi participant is quite pleased with his performance on Expedition Emerald and proudly flourishes his national flag.

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Photo: Cpl. Lee Purvis

Although wet, spirits were not dampened by those that participated in Expedition Emerald.

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Photo: Cpl. Lee Purvis

The halfway point of Expedition Emerald provided sustenance and medical aid to those that required it. Emerald proved to be quite a challenge to all participants given the distance, wind and rain.