Exercise Joint Resolve 32
LTC Norbert Hoerpel GER A
First published in
SFOR Informer#172, August, 2004
Due to the participation of more than 50 high ranking
delegations from different countries, the opening Ceremony
of Stari Most, the Old Bridge in Mostar, on 23 July 2004 was
a big challenge for the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
concerning the security during this event. Local authorities
requested SFOR to assist to ensure the safe and secure environment
for the opening ceremony.
To provide all the needed support, COMSFOR directed the implementation
of a JOINT RESOLVE exercise to take place in MNTF SE Area
of Operation in order to let MNTF SE take advantage of the
SFOR Tactical Reserve during the inauguration event. The exercise
itself was divided into two different operations, Op CHESSBOARD
regarding the opening ceremony of the Old Bridge and the following
Op NORTHERN WIND.
For Op CHESSBOARD, which took place from 19th to 24th July
MNTF SE was reinforced with one MSU Coy from SFOR HQ, the
Canadian Recce Squadron A and three helicopters from MNTF
NW. Another three helicopters were provided from MNTF N.
During the first phase of Op CHESSBOARD the reinforcing troops
arrived at Camp Europe in Mostar-Ortijes on Monday, 19 July,
amongst them over 120 Canadian Soldiers with 11 armored vehicles
"Coyote". Together with their multinational comrades
from MNTF SE they used the following two days to get familiar
with their orders and the area around Mostar. In the evenings
many social events took place in Camp Europe and new friendships
were made. The Canadian troops in particular enjoyed working
together with soldiers from other nations; for some of them
it was the first time that they had contact to soldiers from
France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The second phase of Op CHESSBOARD started on Thursday, 22
July, with the deployment of all troops into the observation
points around Mostar. As there are hardly any trees in the
hilly area, the blazing sun and over 40 degrees Celsius was
a special challenge for the troops. In putting up camouflage
nets they tried to create some shade where they could have
a rest. But in spite of these conditions the troops fulfilled
their mission remarkably and for the next 52 hours their goal
was to observed the area especially around Mostar International
Airport. On the afternoon of 23 July some of the troops moved
closer to the outskirts of Mostar to co-operate with the local
police in security measures around the area where the ceremony
The operation was conducted from the Operation Center (OC)
in MNTF SE HQ. As of 23 July the OC was in full function.
Because of the reinforcements more workspace had to be installed.
The Maneuver Coys reported every four hours that everything
was calm and stable. The MNTF SE Liaison Officer
to the local authorities had nothing special to report either.
At 2300 hours, when the inauguration ceremony came to an end
with a huge firework display over Mostar everybody relaxed
but the operation was not yet over.
OP CHESSBOARD was finished and SFOR's support to local authorities,
to ensure a safe and secure environment, for the inauguration
of the Old Bridge was a great success, but the exercise JOINT
RESOLVE was still ongoing.
For the next phase, after the withdrawal of the reinforcing
troops, MNTF SE again was reinforced with one British Infantry
Coy from MNTF NW to take part together with one German Coy
for Op NORTHERN WIND. This operation was conducted in an area
close to Sarajevo and consisted of two Search Operations and
two unannounced Harvest Operations. Although the results of
the Harvest Operations were not spectacular, for both Coys
it was important to work together and to exchange experiences.
Finally after Op NORTHERN WIND had been completed and the
the British Coy had withdrawn back to Banja Luka, the exercise
came to an end.
For all participants the exercise JOINT RESOLVE definitely
was a special challenge but also a good experience.