ANG partners with Croatian army for renovations

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Austen Adriaens
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
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.