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Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission presents the golden Prodder awards to deminers of Bosnian armed forces on Eagle Base Thursday. SFOR awarded deminers with the first Golden Prodder awards for great work in demining in the previous year.

Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission presents the golden Prodder awards to deminers of Bosnian armed forces on Eagle Base Thursday. SFOR awarded deminers with the first Golden Prodder awards for great work in demining in the previous year. (Ivana Avramovic / S&S)

Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission presents the golden Prodder awards to deminers of Bosnian armed forces on Eagle Base Thursday. SFOR awarded deminers with the first Golden Prodder awards for great work in demining in the previous year.

Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission presents the golden Prodder awards to deminers of Bosnian armed forces on Eagle Base Thursday. SFOR awarded deminers with the first Golden Prodder awards for great work in demining in the previous year. (Ivana Avramovic / S&S)

Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission, pins Pennsylvania Commendation Medals on deminers of Bosnian armed forces, from left, Capt. Senad Smigalovic, 1st Lt. Drago Milicic, and Capt. Milenko Eric at an awards ceremony on Eagle Base Thursday.

Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting chief of Joint Military Commission, pins Pennsylvania Commendation Medals on deminers of Bosnian armed forces, from left, Capt. Senad Smigalovic, 1st Lt. Drago Milicic, and Capt. Milenko Eric at an awards ceremony on Eagle Base Thursday. (Ivana Avramovic / S&S)

EAGLE BASE, Bosnia and Herzegovina — It isn’t necessary to be a Pennsylvania resident to receive a Pennsylvania Commendation Medal. Three Bosnians learned it isn’t even necessary to do good work near the state to earn one.

At an awards ceremony last week at Eagle Base, members of the Pennsylvania National Guard serving with the Joint Military Affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the medals to Capt. Senad Smigalovic and 1st Lt. Drago Milicic of the Muslim-Croat Federation Army, and Capt. Milenko Eric of the Republika Srpska military for their work in removing land mines.

Members of Bosnian armed forces doubled their efficiency in 2002, clearing more than 370 acres, twice as much as 2001, 1st Lt. Richard Weber of JMA said at the ceremony.

Weber, a member of a Stabilization Force teams overseeing demining by the Bosnian armed forces, said deminers achieved this improvement without cutting corners on safety.

As a result, the three officers, along with six other soldiers, received the first Golden Prodder award. Deminers use a prodder to detect mines in the field.

SFOR troops hope to make the prodder award an annual event to mark noteworthy accomplishments in removing mines left from Bosnia’s 3½-year war.

“I wish demining efforts would continue to grow so that some day there are no more mines here,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Sullivan, acting JMA chief.

However, Weber said the work is far from over. A mine strike last week near Orasje in northern Bosnia killed five people.

Smigalovic said SFOR’s help and support helped his teams become more efficient. SFOR supported deminers by providing extra protection equipment and machinery to do the work faster.

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