Captain Robert Ford
Robert Ford of Lincoln was the public
affairs officer for the 167th Cavalry during
its deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina from February through September
2003 to assist in peacekeeping operations.
objects were loaned by Robert Ford
The single most important item on the
uniform is the U.S. Flag.
I can't overstate how much credibility the wearing of the U.S.
Flag provided. Although there were soldiers from many nations
in the area, the local population felt they could trust the U.S.
soldier the most. Previous history and wars still influence the
public's perception of other nations. However, Bosnia has no
history with the U.S., so there isn't any previous history to
"hold against us." Once I was meeting with a Bosnian
businessman and he pointed to my uniform flag and said (through
my interpreter), "The day I saw this flag on my streets
was the happiest and saddest day of my life. I was sad because
I knew we were going to be occupied by a foreign nation, but
I also knew that the civil war was now going to be over."
boots are my issued Bosnia boots.
This style of cold weather boot was distributed
to troops going to Bosnia and later was nicknamed the "Bosnia
This flag was given to me by the university athletic office
when we went to Kuwait in
2001. It flew over my tent the entire time we were deployed.
The dust storms really ripped it apart and we tried to make it
a "swallow's tail" cut in hopes that we could get it
to last longer. That helped, and when we deployed to Bosnia,
it went with me again and flew outside my door on the base. I
took it to Afghanistan in 2005 and carried it in my backpack
for my year tour.
[Note: The 1-167th Cavalry was sent
to Kuwait in May 2001 for a six-month deployment to support post-Desert
Storm operations in the area.]
Like every rotation of soldiers before
us, we were asked to conduct a "weapons
harvest" to collect
illegal weapons under an amnesty program. After many rotations,
the message of "turn in your guns for a safer Bosnia"
was worn out. People who still had the guns needed a better reason
to do it. I worked with the local Bosnian media to develop a
raffle. Working with the local police, we set up collection points
in each of the major cities in our area. The local radio and
television stations publicized the location and gave away daily
prizes. The governments of the local cities donated money and
we purchased a brand new Volkswagen Polo. It would cost the average
Bosnian almost three years of income to afford the car. The event
also required tremendous cooperation between all three previous
warring factions. Media stations owned by Serbs, Croats, and
Bosnians all worked together to convince Serb, Croat, and Bosnian
government officials to donate the money. After30 days we collected
hundreds of machine guns and rifles, thousands of hand grenades,
and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition. We took all
the weapons to the town squares and destroyed them on TV and
gave away the car. It was a huge success.
Bosnian television ad for the "Harvest
Staff Sergeant Jeff Murphy compiled this yearbook for his unit.
Ford was the public affairs officer for the unit and befriended
a Bosnian photojournalist, who took these large prints.
Members of the 1-167th cavalry while deployed in Bosnia.