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Engineers Push Forward with Bosnia Construction

Master Sgt. Robert A. Gordon and Tech. Sgt. Shaun Blische, both members of the 175th Civil Engineer Squadron, restore a monument at Mount Igman, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The monument memorializes three American diplomats and their French driver, who were killed at the site in 1995. The memorial is being restored by members of the Maryland National Guard as part of a humanitarian civic action project under the auspices of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. David D. Speicher)

Master Sgt. Robert A. Gordon and Tech. Sgt. Shaun Blische, both members of the 175th Civil Engineer Squadron, restore a monument at Mount Igman, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The monument memorializes three American diplomats and their French driver, who were killed at the site in 1995. The memorial is being restored by members of the Maryland National Guard as part of a humanitarian civic action project under the auspices of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. David D. Speicher)

MOUNT IGMAN, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- The Maryland Air National Guard's 175th Civil Engineer Squadron has nearly completed work on a memorial to three Americans who died here during the Bosnian civil war officials said today. 

Seventy-two members of the Maryland Air National Guard are in Bosnia taking part in two civic construction projects under the auspices of the National Guard's State Partnership Program. 

As the name implies, the program partners U.S. states with foreign governments to establish long term military-to-military contacts to promote interoperability and support democratic institutions. Maryland is currently one of the few states that are partnered with two countries: Bosnia and the Baltic nation of Estonia. 

The project at Mount Igman involves ten Maryland engineers repairing a 4,500 foot long road, performing erosion control at the memorial site and along the road, masonry and concrete construction, and minor carpentry work. The other troops are renovating a primary school in the town of Vlasenica, located approximately 60 kilometers northeast of Sarajevo. 

The memorial honors Joseph Kruzel, Robert Frasure and Air Force Col. Nelson Drew, all members of a U.S. diplomatic delegation in Bosnia to discuss an American peace initiative, and their French driver, Caporal-Chef Stephane Raoult. It is located at the site where their armored personnel carrier came to rest after tumbling from a treacherous mountain road on Aug. 19, 1995. It was originally dedicated in 2001. 

Mount Igman, which is located near Sarajevo, was used as a transit route in and out of the besieged city during the 1992-95 war and was the scene of intense fighting between Bosniak and Serbian forces. 

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