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Foreign Legion here to help out

By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer #99, October 25, 2000

Seljani - Near the village of Seljani, 20 members of the Foreign Legion are preparing to build a new bridge to allow access by trucks to the town perched on a mountain, up very rocky roads. This may sound like many of the missions of SFOR, but in this case, the soldiers doing the work come from 17 different nations and all work for the same army for a common goal.
Making Seljani accessible once more will be a hard job, but one that brings satisfaction to the soldiers, said 1Lt. Christophe Debray, platoon leader.
"In the town where we are building the bridge for there are two minority families. This is the only way to go to this village so this bridge is very important to them," he said. "With this bridge, trucks will be able to bring the people wood, food and the kinds of things they need for the winter. There are no cars in this village, so they need some means of getting supplies in here."
There is a bridge in place for the moment, but it is in such need of repair that it is not safe for vehicles to pass over.
"In the end of winter and spring, there is water is this place. Because of the water, all of the foundation has been destroyed. There is no metal in this foundation, only rocks, so it's very fragile," said Debray. The wood that makes up the bridge is also dry rotted making it very weak.
During the project, the first thing the soldiers needed to do was make a way for them to get their trucks and equipment in place.
“First we had to make a trail so that all of the trucks could make it to the village where we were setting up camp. Now it's time for the work on the bridge itself to begin.”
"First, we are going to destroy the bridge, then make a new one. But this time, not with wood but metal so that it will be stronger and during the years it will not come apart. It will be a lot of work," explained Debray.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: France
Humanitarian Aid