By 1Lt. Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#107, February 21,
Mostar - It is getting dark on this Bosnian evening.
Near Nevesinje, a four-vehicle patrol can be seen travelling through
"Pommard" SFOR route; two Moroccan (a humvee and a VAB),
and two Italian VM-90s.
This is one of the exchange activities that took place between
members of the Italian and Moroccan contingent in the Area of
Responsibility (AOR) of MND (SE) January 22 to 26. First, the
Moroccans visited Tito Barracks, in Sarajevo, where the tasks
and procedures of the Italian Battlegroup were explained to them.
The Italians also showed the Moroccans their weapons, equipment
and vehicles. The three days ended with a joint patrol in the
area of Pale, Italian AOR.
exchange activities continued at the Moroccan installations in
Mostar Ortijes. An Italian platoon from 12 Company, 14 Alpini
Regiment, returned the visit.
Similar activities to what took place at Sarajevo were run during
the next two days. The last exercise, most important, was a patrol
in Nevesinje area.
"At present, our company is supporting the French Battlegroup,
so we usually work in their AOR," said 1st Lt. Mohamed Elias
Ben Moussa, Moroccan Army, now playing the role of host, and leading
Ben Moussa, officer of a paratrooper unit in Morocco, said this
isn't his first joint exercise. "I have been in Spain for
joint training with Spanish Paratroops, and here in BiH with the
French and Germans."
Lt. Gianluigi Gamberini is the Italian platoon leader. "These
exchanges are very interesting," he said. "You do something
out of your routine, and observing different armies and procedures,
you always learn."
Though this is his first exchange, others in his platoon have
been in Germany training with the U.S. Army. Gamberini said he
noticed that Moroccan weapons are of bigger calibre, 7.62 FN FAL
rifles and 12.70 Browning machine guns in front of 5.56 Beretta
SC 70/90 rifles and MINIMI machine guns.
vehicles are also more armoured and heavier, VAB in front of VM-90.
But the procedures and the way of doing things are more or less
the same," Gamberini added. "I would add that they are
very serious workers, well organised, and (use) a lot of safety
in whatever they do."
The patrol reaches a resettlement and a joint dismounted squad
walks around, led by Cpl. Boujemaa Bouchtita, an experienced soldier
with more than 20 years of service in Moroccan Army. He is flanked
by a translator and Cpl. Carmelo Donvito of the Italian Army.
As patrol leaders, they also enjoy the combined activities with
without daylight, the patrol went back to Mostar. Despite snow,
ice, darkness and the state of the road, Italian Lance Cpl. Ivan
Zufferli drives his VM-90 armoured vehicle safely. "We drove
many kilometres without any problems," he said. "It
is our job."
Back in the camp, the Italian platoon enjoyed a typical Moroccan
dinner after four days of intense activity. "But this has
not finished yet. It will be tomorrow when we arrive to our camp
after a three-hour drive," Gamberini said. "Activity
Nations of SFOR: Italy,
SFOR at Work