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Keeping the mission moving

By 1Lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer#108, March 7, 2001

Mostar-With a battle group consisting of 264 vehicles and moving engines, much stands or falls on the few soldiers with the mission of maintaining them. The Spanish Battle Group workshop in Mostar is not a workspace for the lazy. Daily, more than ten vehicles roll in and out, everyone depending on skilled mechanics.
The sound of a singing radio drowns in the noise of engines, laughter and mechanical rattle. The smell of oil and diesel is thick, as a recovery APC rolls out of the mechanics garage, after its crane having been revised and serviced. The parking-space outside is almost as crowded as the garages inside. A lot to do, as every day, for the 32 soldiers working in the workshop.
“The platoon includes mechanics, electricians, electronic-experts and armourers. The different specialised people needed for the task,” says Lt. Pedro Monteagudo.
And their task is not a little one. Among the vehicles they have to look after, 64 Armoured BMR and VEC APC's, tankers, trucks, light vehicles, and numerous mobile generators.
“As the vehicles here do much more mileage than they would in Spain, they need to be serviced more often. That means changing brakes, filters, oil, and other parts. Also, because of our mission, this must be done faster than normal, giving us a maximum three days to repair or service any vehicle,” says Lt. Monteaguo.
The platoon can do more or less all kinds of service and repairs at their workshop in the battle group. Only very complicated problems are passed on to the Spanish National Support Element at the airport in Mostar.
The workshop crew points out that the experience of working in SFOR is good. “It gives us the opportunity to develop our professionalism, and to get used to a difficult environment were the vehicles brake down more often because of the missions. We are also more limited when it comes to tools compared to normal conditions in Spain,” says Lt. Monteagudo.
Every day, they have an average of three or four vehicles in for revision and service, and seven or eight vehicles in for repairs.
“Being a mechanic here is more work because of the vast mileage the vehicles do, and the need to get them back on the road again quickly when they come in for service or repairs. We do longer hours than we would do in Spain, but I enjoy it,” says Sgt. Jose Antonio Garcia.
During the seven years the Spanish battle group have operated in Mostar, they have driven over 500 000 km. No wonder the mechanics must work hard to keep the fleet moving.


Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
SFOR at Work