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On the road again

By 1st Lt. Javier Donesteve
First published in
SFOR Informer#110, April 4, 2001

Mostar - On March 14, 2000, the French "Escadron de Circulation" handed over to the Spanish UCC (Circulation Control Unit) the responsibilities of traffic and road control in Multinational Division - Southeast (MND-SE). After its first birthday, UCC carries out these tasks with nothing to report.

"The UCC is a company-sized organic element of MND-SE, under G4 (Logistics Staff Branch of the Head Quarters) Movements Cell, but also under administrative command of the Spanish Battle Group," said Capt. Carlos de Clemente, UCC commanding officer.

"The unit's structure is one headquarters team and two platoons, one from Guardia Civil (Spanish police of a military nature, like French Gendarmerie or Italian Carabinieri), based in Mostar, and one from Army, based in Rajlovac (Sarajevo), with exactly the same tasks."
About these tasks, de Clemente specially mentions the reconnaissance of SFOR routes in MND-SE, and above all, road Pacman.

"It is the division's main supply route, and our main effort. Pacman goes from Ploce Harbour to Sarajevo, through Mostar and the whole Neretva Valley. Every morning, 365 days a year, at five o'clock, two patrols depart from Mostar and Sarajevo, respectively, to check that Pacman is clear and operational. Otherwise, appropriate assets such as snow ploughs (which is very frequent in winter) are sent."

Other UCC tasks are to escort convoys, support medical evacuations, provide and update information about all SFOR routes, and control/support of SFOR units at the Croatian border checkpoint in Metkovic, "a critical point in Pacman, through which most of the Division's supplies enter in BiH," said de Clemente. About updating information on SFOR routes, he added, "The new roads map is a very high percentage of our job. Technology (computers and GPS) helped us a lot in this task."

About the convoy's accompaniment, 1st Lt. Antonio Bellido, Rajlovac's platoon leader, said, "Wide-load convoys must be escorted. There are certain places, like tunnels, where traffic must be stopped. Other kinds of convoys are also accompanied, as it was done during "Joint Resolve" exercise, when American, Italian or German vehicles were escorted to and from the training area.

The weather conditions (cold and snow) made everything slower and more difficult and trips finished very late. But this is our job: to spend many hours on roads that are usually not in very good condition."


Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
SFOR at Work