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Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked, and we who fail to prevent them must share in the guilt for the dead.

-- General Omar Bradley

Camp Bedrock

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Camp Bedrock
An Infantry-led Task Force based at Camp Bedrock, Bosnia was responsible for the area comprising the Tuzla, Zivinice, and Banovici municipalities. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry occupied Camp Bedrock in September of 1998 and patrolled the Tuzla Corridor. The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry redeployed back to Fort Hood in March of 1999.

In January 1999 NATO countries agreed to a ten percent reduction in the Bosnian force levels going from approximately 32,000 down to just below 29,000. This took place during the spring of 1999. The American part of that reduction was 700 people, and that brought the US force from 6,900 to 6,200. When that happened, the US closed one camp, Camp Bedrock, which was about 60 kilometers from Tuzla.

Camp Bedrock is located in the Tuzla Valley on a hill with a commanding view. Camp Bedrock is perched atop a waste pile from two open-pit coal mines adjacent to the camp. The lack of natural shade is tempered by the wonderful view of the Tuzla Valley. The hill top plateau overlooks an old quarry operation. Surrounding the Base Camp is a wall of old 8ft tall tires that equipped the massive dump trucks that supported the quarry operation. History buffs may be reminded of the Zealot fortress of Masada when looking at Bedrock?s defensibility. While the Dining Facility is air-conditioned, all other facilities, to include the gym, chapel, and PX are in GP Medium tents.

As of February 1996 Camp Bedrock featured very muddy conditions and wooden burn-out latrines. Living tents were erected in snow and rain, during which soldiers were required to wear full "battle rattle": personal weapon, load-bearing equipment, and protective masks. Just before a visit from First Lady Hillary Clinton in March 1996, boardwalks were built and several tons of gravel were brought into camp to alleviate part of the mud problem. In addition, shower and latrine containers were brought in by Brown and Root, a Department of Defense contractor.

All but 8 people at Camp Bedrock lived in GP Medium sized tents with wooden frames for the roofs, plywood floors, and plywood half-walls. The plywood is on the outside of the frame, but inside the tent. The plywood reaches four feet above the floor. The only protection from the elements above the plywood is the tent canvas and cotton tent liner. Most tents have eight inhabitants, each with a wardrobe, a cot, and access to a 240v power outlet. Most of the tents are arranged so that there is a large central area. Some soldiers decide to chip in and buy TVs and VCRs. Having an entertainment area reduces each soldier?s living space, but adds to the communal environment.

The Task Force Eagle commander made force protection construction the priority for all units due to the underlying threat of terrorism in Bosnia. One engineer task force was tasked with the construction and pre-fabrication of force protection systems for 12 base camps in the Tuzla Valley and other smaller sites throughout Bosnia Herzegovina. Each company was responsible for four base camps, and it became clear that each required large quantities of fighting positions and bunkers. Initially, each company constructed their own positions, but with some camps requiring more than 50 fighting positions alone, it became apparent that a consolidated production site would be more efficient. The task of planning, organizing, and constructing this facility was given to one company of the engineer battalion. The assault and obstacle platoon established a pre-fabricated construction yard on Base Camp Bedrock Bosnia-Herzegovina. This production yard began mass production of force protection systems.

The 2nd Ordnance Detachment, 191st Ordnance Battalion, EOD [Explosive Ordgance Disposal], was headquartered at Camp Bedrock, with two-person teams throughout the US sector. Their main mission was to render safe all unexploded ordnance that poses a threat to the stablization force or SFOR facilities. The unit also provided technical expertise during weapons site inspection, conducts post-blast inspection, provides mine awareness training and unexploded ordnance bomb threat searches. The unit disposed of confiscated and turned in former warring factions munitions as well.

The 133rd Medical Detachment conducted split-based operations. Half of the unit provided support from Camp Bedrock, while the other half performed its mission from the original location within Eagle Base. This dispersion of PVNTMED assets permitted more thorough coverage and quicker response to the PVNTMED needs of commanders and soldiers. In May 1996, the 255th Medical Detachment, Entomology (ENTO), a 30th Medical Brigade PVNTMED asset located in Vicenza, Italy, deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina to replace the 133rd Medical Detachment (SANI).

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