Guard Spotlight: Minnesota

Soldiers Help Renovate Croatian School

KARLOVAC, Croatia — Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard are marking a 20-year partnership with a fellow NATO ally by renovating a school in Karlovac, Croatia, a town hit hard by conflicts in the early 1990s. 

The Minnesota Guard has been working with the Croatian Army since the mid-1990s through what is known as the Guard’s State Partnership Program. The program pairs individual States with other nations to develop bonds in hopes that they can work together to improve long-term international security.

This year, the Minnesota National Guard has been tasked with providing engineering and construction support to the Primary Dubovac School. The project consists of a complete remodel of the kitchen, staff bathroom, and locker area in the school.

Members of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s Camp Ripley-based 851st Vertical Engineer Company and the Civil Engineer Squadrons from the Minnesota Air National Guard have sent a number of troops to help with the labor-intensive task of the remodel of the school, which will house nearly 800 students in first- through eighth-grades.

SPC Jesse Mendiola, a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist from the Minnesota Army National Guard, takes a break during a reconstruction and remodel at a school in Karlovac, Croatia. Photo by Tech. SGT Lynette Olivares.

SPC Jesse Mendiola, a Carpentry and Masonry Specialist from the Minnesota Army National Guard, takes a break during a reconstruction and remodel at a school in Karlovac, Croatia. Photo by Tech. SGT Lynette Olivares.

Guard members are working with the Croatian Army Engineering Horizontal Construction Company for this project funded by the Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Program.

“I think this is great training and a unique opportunity for our Soldiers and Airmen to work together alongside of the Croatian Army for a good cause,” said Army National Guardsman 1LT Jon Fougner, officer in charge of the group. “We brought in our knowledge base and go out of our comfort zone in regards to American construction practices.”

One of those differences in construction practices involves an important aspect of any construction project – accurate measurements.

“You get to learn and experience new things. For example, the metrics vs. American measurement system is something we are required to work with during our time here,” said SPC Jesse Mendiola, a 12W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist with the Minnesota Guard.

So, if you have an interest in building structures or in building relationships with fellow Soldiers to serve your country and serve your State, contact a recruiter today. Learn more about the Guard’s career fields on our job board.

From original articles by Tech. SGT Lynette Olivares, Minnesota Army National Guard, that appeared in July and June in the news section of NationalGuard.mil.

 

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