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ANG partners with Croatian army for renovations

Staff Sgt. Jake Pudlick slaps hands with kids after a brief soccer game outside an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 18, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

Staff Sgt. Jake Pudlick slaps hands with kids after a brief soccer game outside an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 18, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

Chief Master Sgt. Kyle Johnson, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, disinfects a bathroom wall at an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 19, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd and 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army, under the National Guard State Partnership Program. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

Chief Master Sgt. Kyle Johnson, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, disinfects a bathroom wall at an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 19, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd and 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army, under the National Guard State Partnership Program. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

Senior Master Sgt. Kurt Huver, 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, shares videos on his cellphone with members of the Croatian Army outside an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 18, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

Senior Master Sgt. Kurt Huver, 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, shares videos on his cellphone with members of the Croatian Army outside an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia, June 18, 2014. The school bathrooms are being renovated by Airmen from the 133rd Civil Engineering Squadron, 148th Civil Engineering Squadron, and 219th Red Horse Squadron in partnership with the Croatian Army. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens)

OGULIN, Croatia (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 219th RED HORSE Squadron and Minnesota Air National Guard’s 133rd and 148th Civil Engineering Squadrons partnered with the Croatian army June 27, to renovate bathrooms at an elementary school in Ogulin, Croatia.

The elementary school renovation was part of a Humanitarian Civic Assistance program supported by U.S. Army, United States European Command and 409th Contracting Support Brigade.

Croatia is Minnesota’s “sister state,” which is part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. The program has built global relationships for more than 20 years based on international civil-military affairs projects such as the bathroom renovation. The combined efforts cultivate diverse working conditons and enhance global operations.

Minnesota is not providing the construction labor alone. Airmen from Montana Air National Guard’s 219th RED HORSE Squadron also assisted in the construction efforts. The Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Squadron Engineers were one of the first Guard units to start construction work in Croatia.

The Airmen employed their unique skill sets, manpower and equipment to help aid in the effort. The Croatian army is providing lodging, food, transportation, translators and augmented labor.

The Airmen were immersed into situations where they were able to venture out of their specified Air Force specialty code.

Airmen are also learning new construction procedures from the Croatian army. The cohesion and efforts from all parties involved has crafted a long lasting relationship for years to come.

Planning and resilience were additional aspects to the project. There may be many things that go amiss in construction and difficulties vary from site to site. An Airman’s ability to remain resilient is key to project completion.

During the trip, obstacles were documented and discussed daily. A majority of the tools were brought to Croatia by the National Guard units. However, there were some items that were unforseen or difficult to transport. The Croation army provided larger items such as cement mixers and jackhammers, significantly reducing rental costs and project completion times. Being able to forecast for similar scenarios on future deployments will create a more efficient and cost-effective project.


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