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
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.