Far-Flung Support: Operation Joint Endeavor

Green Bay to Bosnia LogoAt presstime, there were 2,072 Army Reserve soldiers mobilized to support Operation Joint Endeavor. The majority of these soldiers possess logistical, medical and civil-affairs specialties. Currently, there are 1,314 Army Reservists stationed in Germany, 565 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 76 in Hungary, and 12 in Italy. At Ft. Benning, Ga., 105 Reservists are still serving state-side.

The largest Army Reserve unit deployed in support of Operation Joint Endeavor is a hospital unit from Lubbock, Texas, that is serving in Germany. This major Army Reserve medical contribution to the operation is necessary to ensure that soldiers suffering injury or illness in support of the operation receive the best care that this nation can provide.

Smaller units are also making major contributions to the effort. As an example, postal units from Pennsylvania and Texas ensure that the “all-important” mail, the lifeline to loved ones, gets through to the soldiers far from home.

About 40,000 pounds of mail arrive each day in Bosnia for U.S. troops. Most of the mail comes from families left behind in Germany. Average travel time for a package from Germany is two to four days; from the continental U.S., eight to ten days. (Try 34.9 days … if it arrives. – ed)

If you are interested in sending mail to a soldier in Bosnia, the military postal service has set up a toll-free hotline to provide information on mailing restrictions and to help mailers identify ZIP codes of deployed units. The number, 800-810- 6098, is in operation from 0800 to 1600 EST, Monday through Friday.

Normal living conditions for troops deployed at a temporary-duty site are not quite the same as they are for troops at home station. Conditions for troops deployed to Bosnia and the surrounding countries are no exception.

True to their history, U.S. soldiers have used imagination and ingenuity to overcome overwhelming odds. Prohibited from leaving the installation, a group of hungry soldiers at a staging area in southern Hungary used a Reserve interpreter to telephone a pizza order to a local establishment. Pizzas were then delivered to the front gate where these enterprising soldiers picked them up without ever leaving post.

Commanders concerned about local conditions and the possibility of food poisoning have now banned local pizza deliveries in some deployment areas. Realizing their plight, the Army and Air Force Exchange System (AAFES) is helping to bring a small taste of home to our deployed friends and family. AAFES, working in conjunction with some U.S.-based fast-food corporations, is taking Anthony’s Pizza, Burger King, Frank’s Franks, Baskin Robbins and other establishments “to the field” in eateries on wheels (more affectionately known as “Roach Coaches”).

At presstime, there were still a few logistical concerns about availability and delivery of fresh produce. However, AAFES is predicting that full-up operation should begin this month.

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The Officer
May, 1996


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