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Camp McGovern

By 1Lt. Franois-Xavier Miller
First published in
SFOR Informer#108, March 7, 2001

CA 2276888 - this coordinate is one of the most northern positions in the Multinational Division North (MND-N) : American Camp McGovern.
Housing the 3rd Battalion from the 15th Mechanised Infantry Regiment of the 3rd US Army Infantry Division, including the usual support element - military police, medical, signals, administration -, the camp is located in a strategic place: it stretches along either side of the road, in the Brcko district.
This area has a special status with a multi-ethnic governing body under the supervision of the Office of the High Representative. It forms a narrow corridor between the two parts of Republika Srpska, eastern and western. This crossing zone, located on the northern frontier close to Croatia, in one of the non-mountainous areas of Bosnia, was fought over during the war.
Not that long ago - before 1996, when it was built - other duties were carried out at the site. Thus, the Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) has been built under a former pigsty, and some other buildings cover places that were sadly used by snipers.
Where does this name McGovern, so distant from Brcko, come from ?
The 5th Cavalry Regiment from the 1st Cavalry Division which built the camp, gave the name of one of hers to its construction. 1st Lt. McGovern used to serve in company A, 5th Cavalry Regiment.
During the assault of hostile enemy troops entrenched in bunker-type pillboxes on a hill, his unit came under heavy fire from the crest of the hill. In spite of his wound, McGovern assured the men of his ability to continue and urged them forward. Several yards from its objective, a barrage of hand grenades halted the group's advance.
Casualties were rapidly increasing and the morale was badly shaken. He hurled back several grenades before they exploded. He alone charged a machine-gun emplacement which was raking his platoon under flanking fire. Within 10 yards of the position, a burst of fire ripped the carabine from his hands, he drew his pistol and threw handgrenades, killing the seven hostile soldiers, and fell fatally wounded in front of the machine gun he had just silenced. Imbued by this, his men fixed bayonets, charged and overran the enemy position. This occurred in Kamyangjan-ni, Korea, January 30, 1951.
McGovern's leadership, courage and intrepid actions set an example, and whose memory is honoured in the traditions of American armed forces.
Nowadays his name honours a camp in service of peace, and it reminds us that winning the peace also implies sacrifices.

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