One of the main tasks of EUFOR Operation Althea is to work with the authorities and Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH) to maintain a Safe and Secure Environment (SASE). On 11 May 2017, the EUFOR Multinational Battalion (MNBN) with AFBiH undertook an exercise to regain an occupied Weapon Storage Site, which (in the exercise) had been occupied by a hostile group.
The MNBN, EUFOR’s in-theatre manoeuvre unit, got a brief on the scenario as soon as they arrived at the Kalinovik Barracks training area. The MNBN’s Turkish Company was tasked with re-occupying the Weapon Storage Site.
The scenario was made more complex for the Company Commander with the addition of two further incidents. The entrance to the building was booby trapped, which necessitated calling in EUFOR’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team. As a second complicating factor, one of his soldiers was severely wounded. The casualty was treated by the MNBN medical team, before being evacuated by helicopter.
EUFOR must undertake practice helicopter evacuations frequently, because quick response times can make the difference between life and death for injured troops. After accomplishing his task and regaining control, the Weapon Storage Site was handed back to the Armed Forces of BiH by the Turkish Company Commander.
Lieutenant Colonel Markus Schwaiger, the MNBN Commander said: “The given tasks were fulfilled positively by the Turkish Company Commander and his soldiers. Additionally, I want to point out the intent and fast acting of everybody during the whole exercise, because this would be most important in case of a real threat.”
(Source: eufor, written by 1st Lieutenant Patrick Moser)