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Jajces Klein Beringen

By Cpl. Nicolas Girault
First published in
SFOR Informer#120, August 22, 2001

On Gull route, in Jajce area, Dutch Battle Group has a post for its Quick Reaction Force’s needs. This is comprised of a medic and an infantry detachment.

Jajce - On the way to Banja Luka, a few kilometres from Jajce, is a Bosnian house just like all the others, but surrounded by a barbed wire fence, a sentry box and a few sandbags protecting a sentinel behind the gate. At the entrance, an inscription is written on a plate with a Dutch flag and a red cross: “Klein Beringen”. Beringen is the name of a Dutch town in Limbourg.
The “Mayor of Jajce,” as people from the area call him, is better known in the Dutch Army as Staff Sgt. René Wessel, from the medical service; he reigns in this kingdom. In the Ops room he explained: “This is the heart of the house. We know exactly how long it takes to go to any place in our area.” The three medics’ job is to intervene in every kind of accident in the whole area. “We deal with every kind of accident, car crash and mountain risks.”
When there is an event involving only the local population, Klein Beringen ensures the first emergency treatment; it performs hold medical evacuation when SFOR members are involved in the accident. Patrols are also done to look after the landslides on the roads.
Klein Beringen can accommodate up to 10 wounded people before their evacuation, and 30 in the case of a catastrophe. Wessel explained that, “We are members of the Quick Reaction Force for medical emergencies, but we are also military if needed.”
The infantry group is in charge of ensuring the guard post and to secure the area around the possible accident. Guards change on a weekly basis, while the medics stay for three or four weeks.
Hopefully, accidents are rare. Fusilier Alwin Roosenburg explained that “in a little military post like this one, rules are less compelling than in a usual garrison.” Only the hygiene rules are drastic, because it is a health centre. Wessel has already been to Bosnia and Herzegovina with UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force) in 1993; he added “it is excellent to live here, time goes quickly. We adopted our neighbours, old people whom we take their blood pressure regularly.”
Two car crashes happened in the last few months in the area, involving only civilian people. But it is not because that Klein Beringen is looking after you that you have to take risks on the road. So, drive carefully and you will never meet these soldiers.

Related links: Nations of SFOR: Netherland
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