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 Forces 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.
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
Training and Exercises