Ohio National Guard engineers work with Serbian Armed Forces on school reconstruction project
Since early August this year, the Ohio National Guard and the Serbian Armed Forces have been teaming up to make improvements to portions of the school and fix the gym, which was damaged to such a degree that it hasn’t been used in more than a year.
Sgt. Phillip Hagerman, a member of the the 1194th Engineer Company and a West Carrollton, Ohio, native, dumps concrete dust off of the roof of the Svetozar Markovic Primary School Aug. 7, 2012, in Kraljevo, Serbia. Engineers with the Ohio Army and Air National Guard, along with their Serbian 2nd Army Brigade counterparts, have undertaken a joint construction mission at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School to help repair and update portions of the school that were damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.
5 photos: Sgt. Phillip Hagerman dumps concrete dust off of the roof of the Svetozar Markovic Primary School
Photo 1 of 5: Sgt. Phillip Hagerman, a member of the the 1194th Engineer Company and a West Carrollton, Ohio, native, dumps concrete dust off of the roof of the Svetozar Markovic Primary School Aug. 7, 2012, in Kraljevo, Serbia. Engineers with the Ohio Army and Air National Guard, along with their Serbian 2nd Army Brigade counterparts, have undertaken a joint construction mission at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School to help repair and update portions of the school that were damaged by an earthquake in late 2010. Download full-resolution version
Spc. Bryant Rogers, a member of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1194th Engineer Company and a Delaware, Ohio, native, dips a piece of bread into salt as part of a traditional Serbian ceremony, Aug.6, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The ceremony was used to welcome a contingent of  Ohio Army and Air National Guard engineers and to launch the joint construction mission at the school with the Serbian Armed Forces.
5 photos: Spc. Bryant Rogers dips a piece of bread into salt as part of a traditional Serbian ceremony
Photo 2 of 5: Spc. Bryant Rogers, a member of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1194th Engineer Company and a Delaware, Ohio, native, dips a piece of bread into salt as part of a traditional Serbian ceremony, Aug.6, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The ceremony was used to welcome a contingent of Ohio Army and Air National Guard engineers and to launch the joint construction mission at the school with the Serbian Armed Forces. Download full-resolution version
Mary Burce Warlick (left), U.S. ambassador to Serbia, asks 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg a question Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. Warlick visited Ohio National Guard and Serbian Armed Forces engineers working at the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2010.
5 photos: Mary Burce Warlick (left), U.S. ambassador to Serbia, asks 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg a question at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia.
Photo 3 of 5: Mary Burce Warlick (left), U.S. ambassador to Serbia, asks 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg a question Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. Warlick visited Ohio National Guard and Serbian Armed Forces engineers working at the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2010. Download full-resolution version
Senior Airman Nicholas Dotson, a member of the 200th RED HORSE Squadron and a Mansfield, Ohio, native, uses an arc welder to attach together two pieces of fence, Aug. 7, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The 200th RED HORSE Armen are conducting a joint construction mission with talong with Ohio Army National Guard and Serbian 2nd Army Brigade engineers to repair the Svetozar Markovic Primary School, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.
5 photos: Senior Airman Nicholas Dotson uses an arc welder to attach together two pieces of fence
Photo 4 of 5: Senior Airman Nicholas Dotson, a member of the 200th RED HORSE Squadron and a Mansfield, Ohio, native, uses an arc welder to attach together two pieces of fence, Aug. 7, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The 200th RED HORSE Armen are conducting a joint construction mission with talong with Ohio Army National Guard and Serbian 2nd Army Brigade engineers to repair the Svetozar Markovic Primary School, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010. Download full-resolution version
Sgt. Theo Calloway (right) works to run wiring with Master Sgt. Monty Stiltner Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. More than 30 Ohio National Guard members are in Serbia as part of the State Partnership Program, working alongside their counterparts in the Serbian 2nd Army Brigade to repair the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.
5 photos: Sgt. Theo Calloway (right) works to run wiring with Master Sgt. Monty Stiltner
Photo 5 of 5: Sgt. Theo Calloway (right) works to run wiring with Master Sgt. Monty Stiltner Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. More than 30 Ohio National Guard members are in Serbia as part of the State Partnership Program, working alongside their counterparts in the Serbian 2nd Army Brigade to repair the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010. Download full-resolution version
Sgt. Phillip Hagerman, a member of the the 1194th Engineer Company and a West Carrollton, Ohio, native, dumps concrete dust off of the roof of the Svetozar Markovic Primary School Aug. 7, 2012, in Kraljevo, Serbia. Engineers with the Ohio Army and Air National Guard, along with their Serbian 2nd Army Brigade counterparts, have undertaken a joint construction mission at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School to help repair and update portions of the school that were damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.
Spc. Bryant Rogers, a member of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1194th Engineer Company and a Delaware, Ohio, native, dips a piece of bread into salt as part of a traditional Serbian ceremony, Aug.6, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The ceremony was used to welcome a contingent of  Ohio Army and Air National Guard engineers and to launch the joint construction mission at the school with the Serbian Armed Forces.
Mary Burce Warlick (left), U.S. ambassador to Serbia, asks 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg a question Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. Warlick visited Ohio National Guard and Serbian Armed Forces engineers working at the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2010.
Senior Airman Nicholas Dotson, a member of the 200th RED HORSE Squadron and a Mansfield, Ohio, native, uses an arc welder to attach together two pieces of fence, Aug. 7, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. The 200th RED HORSE Armen are conducting a joint construction mission with talong with Ohio Army National Guard and Serbian 2nd Army Brigade engineers to repair the Svetozar Markovic Primary School, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.
Sgt. Theo Calloway (right) works to run wiring with Master Sgt. Monty Stiltner Aug. 8, 2012, at the Svetozar Markovic Primary School in Kraljevo, Serbia. More than 30 Ohio National Guard members are in Serbia as part of the State Partnership Program, working alongside their counterparts in the Serbian 2nd Army Brigade to repair the school, which was damaged by an earthquake in late 2010.

KRALJEVO, Serbia —  A 5.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred here on Nov. 3, 2010, was strong enough to be felt in neighboring countries and damaged almost 6,000 buildings in the town. One of the structures damaged was the Svetozar Markovic Primary School. Since early August this year, the Ohio National Guard and the Serbian Armed Forces have been teaming up to make improvements to portions of the school  and fix the gym, which was damaged to such a degree that it hasn’t been used in more than a year.

Soldiers from the Chillicothe, Ohio-based 1194th Engineer Company, Airmen from the Camp Perry- and Mansfield-based 200th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) Squadron and engineers of the Serbian 2nd Army Brigade have been working together on this joint construction mission, which includes multiple projects such as replacing the gym floor, installing new playground equipment, repairing and installing a roof, and fixing and updating portions of the electrical wiring and plumbing.

Working with members of the Serbian Armed Forces has been a rewarding experience, said several Ohio National Guard Soldiers and Airmen.

“We have Soldiers from the Serbian Army that are available to translate for us,” said 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg, officer-in-charge of the joint mission and a member of the 200th RED HORSE. “If a translator is not available, sometimes both sides will use charades to explain what you need or want to accomplish. Everyone understands the overall concept of the project and what needs to be done.”

Sgt. Matthew Birkofer, a member of the 1194th Engineer Company and a Cincinnati, Ohio, native, added: “We are all working together well. Everyone is open to everyone else’s ideas; it does not matter who they are or what unit they are with.”

Doing construction work in a foreign country creates a few challenges, Birkofer said. “The hardest thing that we have had to adjust to is the European Standard of construction,” he said. “The overall construction concepts are the same but the Serbians have a different way of doing things.”

Birkofer said there are also differences in assembling pipes, construction materials and electrical wiring that runs at a 220 voltage as opposed to the 120 voltage system used in the U.S.

 “The partnership between U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and the Serbian Armed Forces is proving to be a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Drzik of the 1194th. “We are all learning from each other. We feel that we are helping to foster an environment of international society”

The Ohio National Guard Soldiers will continue their mission in Serbia through late August. The official completion of the project will be in early September.

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