Joint Active Harvest

Sgt. Anton Davidenko
First published in
SFOR Informer#145, August 15, 2002

On July 27 the next stage of the American Active Harvest was started. A Russian Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team with the leader of the field engineer service, Russian Military Contingent (RMC) Lt. Col. Shulga, was invited to participate in the activity. All activities were in the territory of the Federation namely the towns of Kladanj and Olovo. The main tasks of the Russian peacekeepers were the collecting, transporting and rendering harmless the unexploded ordnance.

Kladanj - There were a lot of situations when unusual decisions had to be made. Once, after receiving a call from a village in the Kladanj area where a handmade grenade had been found, a Russian EOD team went to check it out. Examination of the grenade showed that it had already been activated. As it was unstable it was necessary to it. Engineers went away from the village and chosed the most convenient place. All necessary safety measures were put into place. Roads were blocked, sentries were put into position, and instructions were given to all personnel participating in this action. After the EOD team had placed a C-4 charge for destroying the grenade, the explosives were detonated. The command 'All Clear' was given and everything returned to normal.
A potential bomb
As soon as the EOD team arrived back at their original rally point, they received information about a possible aviation bomb that had been left since World War II. Without delay, Russians went to the location of the call. After careful examination of the surface area, the EOD group started to look for the bomb with a mine detector and probing rod. The search showed that the territory was safe and secure.
"It is good that local people displayed vigilance. The main thing is that they know we came here to help," said Shulga.
Sharing and caring
During little breaks between calls, Russian peacekeepers mingled with local citizens giving them Meals Read to Eat (MREs) and posters with helpful information. Children watching the activity were excited at the chance to see American and Russian military men hard at work. They especially liked this part of the Active Harvest.
"These measures play a very important part in the life of the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We implemented one of the main tasks of SFOR, to provide security and to save people, s lives," said Shulga.
American Capt. Blando, commander of the group B 1-14, added: "It was a very good experience for both sides to conduct this type of joint operation. We were pleased to work with the Russian EOD team and we hope to continue it in future".

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: US, Russia

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Photos: Sgt. Anton Davidenko

American and Russian soldiers look over the many explosive devices that were discovered during Active Harvest.

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Local children gather around a military vehicle - getting the chance to watch Russian and American troops work together created an air of excitement.

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Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team members from the Russian Army prepare to detonate a piece of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO).