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NEWS | June 25, 2016

7th MSC Civil Affairs Soldiers assess humanitarian projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta 7th Mission Support Command

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7th Mission Support Command conducted assessments of U.S. European Command and U.S. Embassy-Bosnia and Herzegovina Humanitarian Assistance projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina May 23 - June 1.

Four troops from the 7th MSC’s Company A from the 457th Civil Affairs Battalion evaluated HA projects that have been completed within the last five years.

“We had a team of six Soldiers combining multiple units, both reserve and active duty, to conduct the analysis and report the findings to EUCOM,” Sgt. 1st Class David Heath, civil affairs noncommissioned officer, Co. A, and HA assessment team noncommissioned officer in charge said. “Overall, the projects were extremely well maintained and managed efficiently.”

The 7th MSC has also conducted HA assessment missions in the past to several different countries including Moldova, Serbia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.

“These types of missions are absolutely amazing in providing real-world training for civil affairs Soldiers.” Heath said. “Many of the core tasks in the CA world, such as conducting interviews, working with an interpreter, analyzing data and evaluating humanitarian assistance projects are being used on a daily basis.

“Even more importantly, these skills are being tested in a real-world environment with results that help impact actual Bosnian lives and help accomplish the EUCOM mission,” he added.

The HA mission fulfilled two EUCOM lines of effort, including building relationships with NATO, allies and partners and communication and engagement in the European theater.

The team worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the mission.

“A representative from the Office of Defense Cooperation, Mr. Vanja Santic, was with the team for the entire mission,” Heath said. “He introduced us to the local municipal government officials that were stakeholders in the different projects, and gave us invaluable context for the political and social situation in those regions. The cooperation between the [U.S.] Embassy and our team was excellent, and helped build a strong bridge for future missions.”

The HA assessment missions allow reserve Soldiers to expand on their monthly battle assembly training, build expertise and conduct a CA mission that impacts the real world, he added.

“They get training while actually working with local nationals from other countries and the results have impacts for future missions as well,” Heath said.

The 7th MSC HA assessment team also met with the Bosnian 4th Infantry Division commander to discuss a previous project that was completed in conjunction with Shared Resilience 12.

The partnership between the Bosnian and Herzegovina, “military and U.S. forces was a central theme to many of these projects, and the simple acts of returning to the country and meeting with them again have a positive impact on re-establishing those relationships and keeping them strong for the future,” Heath said.