European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 26 1999, Page 4

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 26, 1999, Darmstadt, Hesse Mail a just another trip for them photos by Elmore stars and. Stripes Driver Sylvan Frazier shakes hands with two romanian boys who approached the truck to beg for Money a a regular occurrence for the Brown amp Root Drivers especially at Border Crossings. Mail from Page 3 windows at the Border asking for Money in Exchange for washing the Windshield with a bucket of water and a dirty Long handled push Broom. It was 2 53 . Soon it was Dawn Over Romania. Mountains loomed against the brightening sky. A sprawling Dusty Power Plant came into View giant Brick smokestacks clawing skyward. A you get so you done to even notice the names of the places you pass. Its just a blur a said Driver Kenneth Loggin. A we might Stop for 30 minutes for an Are or something but that a the leg ends at the Back of a service station with the Exchange of Luggage and coolers. Drivers Chris Tiller and Timothy Miles take Over. Frazier and Baker head to the hotel Down a Long dirt Road. Breakfast is waiting. Brown amp Root contracts with hotels along the route getting discounts for having at least two rooms filled every night with Drivers. The company also leaves a pickup truck at each hotel so that the Drivers can get to and from the switch out Points and can have transportation to reach restaurants and in Case of emergencies. After a Day of sleep Frazier and Baker share dinner thursday night with Kenneth Loggin and Johnny Galvan two northbound Drivers at the hotel. Together they laugh about the endless delays and the Odd requests they get at Border Crossings. Experience has taught them never to hand Over their passports to police who often demand Money to give them Back. They keep a stash of passport photocopies to hand out instead. At the Borders agents often ask for an Are or something else they see in the truck. The Drivers said it is not uncommon for customs agents or Border guards to rummage through the cargo of other trucks and take a Box or two of whatever is being carried. Tour bus Drivers typically give the Border guards a bottle of liquor or a crate of sodas to get through faster Loggin said. A policeman once asked Baker for shampoo and deodorant. One woman asked Galvan for chocolate. A they know we carry res. Somebody has been feeding them a Baker grumbled. Sagehorn the head of logistical operations drove an army Amu. Lance to Hungary from Albania earlier this year. He was wearing shorts and a California to shirt looking like a a Beach Loggin was wearing boots a Cowboy hat and big Metal Belt buckle looking like the texan he is. They were stopped at the Slovenia Border where a Border agent looked in the Back. It was packed with Loose computers and other gear the army was moving out of Albania Sagehorn said. The Border agent slammed the ambulances rear door. A Scia a he muttered disgustedly Sagehorn waiting game Friday was to begin Early with another switch off of Drivers. But Baker and Frazier got word the Drivers before them were stuck at the Hungary Romania Border. The pair would wait for More than six hours to make their rendezvous. When Drivers Marquez Brown and Anthony Everett arrived from Hungary with the truck Frazier spotted a Flat tire on the rear right Side of the trailer. It was a 10-minute Convoy in the wrong direction Back into town a and a frustrating search for a Mechanic. It took an additional hour for someone to change the tire. Down the two Lane romanian Road was the spot where Brown recently became a local hero. Brown was driving on the narrow Road when a tractor trailer behind him began to pass. Brown saw that the passing truck was about to collide with a car carrying a romanian family. Brown slammed on the brakes eased off the narrow shoulder and leaned his Rig sideways Down into the ditch. That gave the passing truck time and room to get into the proper Lane. The family a a Mother father and two children a pulled off the Road and came running to see if Brown and the other Driver were All right. They told him he had saved their lives. The passing truck never stopped. It took 10 hours for a carte to pull the Rig out of the ditch and for a new team of Drivers to arrive. A it was terrible. It was a very hard Day for me. I stood 10 hours by the Side of the Road a Brown recalled. He sit in the truck because it was on its Side. And he leave the truck because it contained registered mail that is required to be accompanied at All times by an american citizen. After joking with guards at the Romania Bulgaria Border Baker and Frazier dragged into their hotel in Bulgaria after Midnight. They would get a Shorter rest than usual because of the Long delay in last leg saturday was spent shop Ping and browsing in Bulgaria. The streets teemed with people and vendors. Frazier joked with a Man pulling a Bear by a nose ring and Leash. The bears Teeth and claws were pulled. The Bear stood on its Hind legs while the Man played a fiddle for donations. This is the Drivers favorite stopping Point the hotel is the nicest their Money goes far and they have some friends Here who show them around. By Early evening it was time to leave again they had 17 a a Down hours. But this is the Best Way to get the mail to its destination even though the Drivers Are always at the mercy of things beyond their control Border problems traffic jams bad weather slow Drivers. If the army did this Mission it would be larger and More expensive Sagehorn said with Drivers in Kevlar vests and helmets Convoy support centers armed escorts people to Check the soldiers in and out of hotels and a Host of other baggage that Brown amp Root does no to have As a civilian contractor. A to look at those Guys you would immediately underestimate them a Sagehorn said of the Drivers. A these Are the Guys you want to be with if you re in a bad situation after driving All Day Baker and Frazier reach the Bulgaria Mace Donia Border at 2 . Sunday. The crossing takes an hour. Baker said that a Border guard gave them a hard time and pretended not to speak English. Later he Learned that the Man spoke English hungarian macedonian and German. Baker assumed the guard uses the ruse so he can overhear what people say about him. Once in Macedonia its Only a few hours to Camp Able sentry but the Drivers can to lose their alertness. While crossing a Bridge anon coming truck crossed the Center line. A the the Driver must have fallen asleep a Frazier guessed. The other Driver then a tried to pull Back but the second trailer clipped me a breaking the Drivers Side Mirror and rocking the trucks cab. A we were Lucky he pulled Back a Frazier said. A i was All the Way Over a but on a Bridge there is no shoulder. Neither truck stopped and minutes later Frazier pulled into Camp Able sentry. Pc. Randall Sloan of the 38th postal co., from Wurzburg Germany was waiting to unlock the trailer and unload the mail at the warehouse. A the Soldier who opens a letter and looks at it a he has no idea what it went through to get there a Sagehorn said. For Baker and Frazier it did no to feel much like the end of a journey. It was a just another trip a Frazier said. A in a couple of Days we be got to go they had crisscrossed the Danube River four times. They had driven a truck and 45-foot frailer 1,591 Miles across some of the Best and worst roads of Europe so that soldiers could have a letter a Christmas package or maybe a Box of homemade Holiday cookies. Oliver a a 29-year-old father of seven a remembers being stationed with the. Army in the Middle East during the persian Gulf War. A the Only thing i had to go on was the mail Quot he said. A i did no to understand it then but i do now. The soldiers a they want their mail they need their email Cindy Elmore at behold the magic spoons Driver Anderson Oliver buys $2.50 souvenir spoons of Texas to give to Border guards it customs agents and police to help him Cross the Borders with More ease. A a Don t leave Home without it a he says. Ii to look at those Guys you would immediately underestimate them. These Are the Guys you want to be with if you re in a bad situation somewhere of Steve Sagehorn Brown amp Root s head of logistical operations

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