December 18, 1995
Web posted at: 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT)
From Correspondent Jim Clancy
TUZLA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- Despite low clouds, U.S. military transport planes began landing in Tuzla Monday morning, starting an airlift of peace-enforcing troops and equipment blocked for five days by poor visibility. The first C-130 Hercules touched down shortly before noon local time (1040 GMT, 5:40 a.m. EST). A second Hercules landed shortly afterwards carrying troops of the 325th Airborne, based in Vicenza, Italy. Two dozen additional planes could land during the day if improved weather holds at the base, a U.S. military spokesman said.
The weather delay had kept some 800 U.S. Army troops waiting in Aviano, Italy, for their assignment in Tuzla as an "initial entry force" to secure the air base before the main force arrives. NATO diverted a few flights carrying U.S. troops and equipment to Sarajevo, leaving them with a six-hour drive to Tuzla over snow-bound and crumbling roads.
While flights were delayed, two trains were en route from Hungary to the Croatian town of Zupanja, 135 miles east of Zagreb, carrying U.S. Army troops and equipment to build a bridge across the Sava River, a NATO spokesman said. The United States is dispatching 20,000 troops of the 60,000-member NATO-led force, the biggest single contingent policing last week's peace agreement ending nearly four years of war in former Yugoslavia.
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