Turkish oldies teach US rookies

Nedima Hadziibrisevic
First published May 9, 2003

US Soldiers from 1st Squadron, Troop A of the 167th Cavalry (Task Force North) recently conducted a joint presence patrol with members of the Turkish Battalion Task Force (TU Bn. TF) in the TF North Area of Responsibility. Although this was not the first joint patrol that took place in the TF North sector with this US contingent, it was the first one with TU Bn. TF soldiers.

Donja Hasic - "It gives us a chance to see how they do things, and also how similar we are, so we are not alienated from each other. Because in any situation we could work together," said US 1Lt. Jeff Searcey, Platoon Leader for TF North.
Mounted and dismounted patrols
About 15 soldiers from the two countries spent an entire day operating together in conducting mounted and dismounted patrols throughout both rural and urban areas of the northern U.S. sector of Multinational Brigade North (MNB-N).
"I think that working together with the other armies is a good experience," said 1Lt. Ertan Dabi, 2nd Company Team Leader for the Turkish Battalion, who is well familiar with such activities. Three months ago he participated in a joint patrol US soldiers from the previous rotation. Since then he's also patrolled with Portuguese, Slovenian and Polish soldiers from Multinational Battle Group, part of MNB-N.
"We are the same, we are SFOR"
Dabi's patrol with TF North included a visit to the village of Donja Hasic, where soldiers spoke with local residents and displaced persons, making sure they are safe and secure in their environment. Citizens were very receptive of the soldiers, even taking time to offer them some cookies.
"People enjoy talking with soldiers whether they are American, Turkish or from other countries," said Dabi. "Because we are the same, we are SFOR."
In addition to the patrolling, and communicating with local residents, was the welcomed opportunity the U.S. and Turkish soldiers had to familiarise themselves with each other's weapons.
"Anytime we get a chance to put our hands on a different type of weapon, we are more then willing to do that and learn more about it," said Searcey.
TF North is planning to conduct joint patrols with other SFOR nations in the future, providing SFOR soldiers, like Searcey, with more opportunities to learn from one another.
"I was privileged to be able to work with them," Searcey said of his experience with the Turkish soldiers. "It is always nice to see somebody from another country and to gain their prospective on what they see in the United States and how they feel about us. It was very reassuring what we have seen and - I'm sure - it went both ways."

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: US, Turkey

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Photos: Sgt 1st Class Ronald D. Covington

Soldiers always show a great interest in weapons from other contingents. Turkish Cpl. Serkan Yildiz admires US Sgt. Chris Marcello's M-16A2 rifle during the joint patrol.

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On their way, US 1Lt. Jeff Searcey, Task Force North, Turkish 1Lt. Ertan Dabi and translator Anita Dragojevic taste some home-baked cookies at the home of Ruza and Anto Dragicevic.