Dec 09 2013
USACE honors Serbian friendship, builds school gymnasium
Traditionally dressed Ivo Andric Primary School students welcome representatives from the U.S. European Command, U.S. Embassy Belgrade, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, Serbian government and the local community with song and dance to celebrate the completion of the school's sports gymnasium in Pranjani September 24, 2012. The EUCOM funded and USACE managed humanitarian assistance project included a 1,580-square-meter sports gymnasium with locker room facilities. The gym was originally started by the municipality, but never completed due to lack of funding. The project also included the installation of indoor bathroom facilities and general renovations to the existing building (new flooring, exterior doors and windows, entry canopy and paint). The project was completed in the town of Pranjani as a small token of thanks. During World War II more than 500 Airmen were shot down over occupied Serbia and rescued by local Serbians who ultimately assisted in the largest evacuation of troops behind enemy lines in history. The people of Pranjani were instrumental in the success of the Halyard Mission rescue, building an airstrip to enable the evacuation. Through partnership and the successful completion of this project the people of the U.S. and Serbia continue to cultivate their friendship.