FORT POLK, La. -- Countries from around the world began arriving August 6 atFort Polk, La. for Cooperative Nugget 95, a peacekeeping exercise designed tobring about closer relationships between NATO and many of the emergingdemocracies in Eastern Europe.
Among the first of 1,100 soldiers from fourteen countries to arrive at FortPolk was a peacekeeping platoon from Hungary.
After a 17-hour plane trip, theHungarians touched down at England Air Park in Alexandria, La., Sunday morning,where they passed through customs and unloaded their gear.
After a bus ride from the air base to North Fort, Fort Polk, where theirbarracks were located, the Hungarian troops began their month-long stay in theU.S. with a day of inprocessing.
First, the troops arrived at their new home, a two-story Second World War-erabarracks.
The air conditioned building was a welcome respite to the muggyheat.
"These are very good facilities to work with the other nations in theCooperative Nugget exercise," said Maj. Dezso Hajos, public affairs officer forthe Hungarian contingent.
After examining their new living quarters, the Hungarians moved to a centralissue facility where they were issued two new sets of Battle Dress Uniforms,and a new pair of Army-issue combat boots.
Because many of the countriesinvolved in Cooperative Nugget lacked the proper hot weather gear required totrain in Louisiana, the gear was issued so all the participants would beproperly equipped.
Also passed out was the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems, or MILES.The MILES equipment, attached to soldiers weapons, is used to signify a "kill"by beeping when hit by a laser beam.
Aside from the American equipment, the Hungarians received a green PFP t-shirtand hat.
Each of the six companies participating in the exercise is identifiedby this set of color-coded clothing.
Green will be the trademark of EchoCompany, made up of platoons from the United States, United Kingdom, Sloveniaand Hungary.
To finish up their day of inprocessing, the Hungarians filled out a meal cardand registration card.
After that, the Hungarian soldiers were able to walkaround their area and explore the shopette, basketball courts and otheramenities of North Fort.
The Hungarians weren't the only ones to inprocess on Sunday.
The Albanian,Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian,Slovenian, Ukrainian, and Uzbekistanian contingents also went through theinprocessing stations.
Fourteen different uniforms, dialects and customsmoving around North Fort made for a very interesting, yet confusing picture.
Despite this, Hajos said Cooperative Nugget would be a good way to work on andperfect different peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks. "I see it as a goodchallenge for the Hungarian army.
We had six weeks training (in Hungary) tospecialize in the Cooperate Nugget tasks," Hajos said.
"We will learn to worktogether with 17 nations, and learn to solve the peacekeeping tasks."
Hajos also sees Cooperative Nugget as a way to showcase the Hungarian soldier."We want to show a piece of the Hungarian Army." We want to show that theHungarian soldier is a good soldier.
We want to make our own Hungarian imagein Cooperative Nugget," he said.