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Release No: 009-96
January 10, 1996


Several military personnel, including an Albanian Army officer, received awards from Secretary of Defense William J. Perry today for their efforts in a U.S/Albanian exercise, UJE KRYSTAL 95, held last summer in Tirana, Albania. The U.S. service personnel, all engineering and construction specialists, worked alongside Albanian military personnel on construction and repair projects at the Tirana Military Trauma Hospital. The training exercise was designed to improve hospital sanitation and emergency operation infrastructure, while providing combined engineer interoperability experience and increase Albanian engineer self-help skills.

The four three-week rotations of the South Carolina National Guard, augmented by Naval and Marine Force Reserve elements and active duty Army and Navy personnel, constructed a temporary base camp; built two water wells; installed a water chlorinator, hot water heaters, and emergency lighting in several of the hospital units; constructed an emergency generator; replaced portions of the internal sewage system; repaired the cardiac facility drywall and constructed a perimeter security fence.

"UJE KRYSTAL is just one example of the strong relationship that has developed between the U.S. and Albania. Albania has been very active in Partnership for Peace and we want to continue to help further Albania's efforts to achieve full integration with Europe," said Perry. He also praised South Carolina Guard and Reserve units' participation in promoting understanding with Partnership for Peace nations such as Albania.

One of the hospital's rennovated wings was named in honor of Joseph J. Kruzel, a Department of Defense offical who helped develop the Partnership for Peace Program and was active in Bosnia peace talks before he died in a vehicle accident in Bosnia.

Representing the Albanian Armed Forces that participated in the exercise was Army Col. Kujtim Proseku. Representing the U.S. units were Army Lt. Colonels David D. Coslow and Craig G. Birchard; Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Richard A. Bardwell; and four Navy Seabees,Lt. Nicholas L. Merry, Senior Chief Petty Officer Jimmie Williams, Petty Offficers 3rd Class Rebecca Wildes and Chris Krause.

Among those attending the ceremony were Albanian Minister of Defense Safet Zhulali, Albanian Ambassador Lublin Dilja, Member of Parliament Bashkim Kopliku as well as South Carolina Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Stanhope S. Spears.

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