Guard conducts community development projects in Romania

BABADAG, Romania — Army Maj. Gary Beaty shares family photos with, from front, Anamaria Calinov, 5; Christina Ivanov, 6; and their great aunt, Maria Panait, outside of a school under community development renovations here.

BABADAG TRAINING AREA, Romania — The 877th Engineer Battalion of the Alabama National Guard in Hamilton, Ala., is spearheading community development projects at four rural schools in Tulcea County, Romania.

The effort is part of ROMEX 05, a bi-lateral exercise designed to train U.S. and Romanian militaries to work as cohesive multi-national forces as new NATO allies.

About 1,500 soldiers are participating in the exercise, with about 25 of those from the Alabama National Guard.

While elements of the Texas National Guard's 71st Brigade Combat Team and Romanian forces continue tactical training with the 1st Armored Division, units will have the opportunity to contribute to the effort, rotating from training lanes to assist at the sites.

The improvements include the construction of new bathrooms and playground equipment, roof installation, fence renovation and landscape enhancement. Soldiers are also painting sections of the schools and making minor structure repairs. Romanian civilian contractors are supporting the construction by providing materials and tools.

These ventures will assist local Romanian agencies while also providing soldiers the opportunity to train in tasks required for their military occupational skills. The endeavor continues to strengthen the U.S. military's relationship with the Romanian community and military.

ROMEX 2005 continues through Aug. 2, with an official closing ceremony marking its conclusion.

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