By 1st Lt. Luis Sanchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#125, October 31, 2001
The engineer platoon and the Civil Military Co-operation
team (S-5) of the Italian Battle Group work very hard together
to speed up the peace process. The ongoing operation focuses on
Displaced Persons and Refugees (DPRE) and consists of de-mining
the terrain and building a road and entrances in an area in which
a Bosnian-Serb settlement has already started (Opstina 140, Republika
Novo Srpsko Sarajevo - True peace is a long road
to travel. Thanks to the Italian Battle Group, based in Tito Barracks
(Sarajevo downtown), a new step towards the normalisation process
has begun. Its engineer platoon is engaged in the construction
of a road, 350 metres long and 7 metres wide. This will serve
as the main street. It gets wider in the middle foreseeing a future
crossroad. Also, drainage channelling and accesses to about 100
houses will soon be built to lodge B-Serb people, currently living
The whole project is focused on the DPREs process and also involves
other organisations, such as the Office of the High Representative.
Capt. Fabio Silvestri, S-5 team commander, commented: "This
task is inside a big project related to DPREs and it facilitates
the return to normal life."
"plotone Genio, 4 Rgt. Guastatori" (engineer platoon,
4th Sapper Rgt.), based in Palermo (Italy), is comprised of 17
soldiers. The staff is experienced in their field of work. Lt.
Luigi Cucinotta, platoon commander, said: "We work directly
for the reconstruction of the country and we can see firsthand
the results of our job; it's gratifying."
The CIMIC team keeps in contact with all the mayors of the municipalities
in the Italian Area of Responsibility (AoR). They study and choose
the projects in the CIMIC context (intellectual work, connecting
people, teaching and being politically correct). This project
followed a technical engineering study focused on necessities.
Later, they set up a plan that depended on the availability of
the machinery (excavators, dump tucks, steamroller and so on).
an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team de-mined the area. They
are also part of the same Italian engineer platoon. Sappers started
working in the last week of September and the task is expected
to last for a month, till late October. In the beginning, when
engineers started working in the area, there wasn't anything but
trees with cows grazing. Now some of these houses have already
started to be built on both sides. The new dwellers are really
happy with them.
For them the job is not difficult despite the flooded terrain.
They are skilled and experienced in their field of work. WO2 Francesco
Incastasciato, excavator operator in his second tour, said: "It's
my normal job in Italy, it's easy. When scraping and removing
mud there is always a risk of finding mines but the area has been
explains in general terms the different stages to build the road.
The first step is to prepare the ground, to level it and to make
a channel for the drainage. The soil is clay and due to the rainy
weather, flooded. Then three layers of hard material (stones)
are laid and compacted with the steamroller. The municipality
provides the needed materials, and its civil engineer works together
with the team. The first layer (big stone) provides consistency.
The second (4-5 cm stones) and the third (thick gravel) give the
The limited engineering means are in great demand. If a lorry
was stopped it could be used for another task. For instance, on
Oct. 15, the trucks were used to carry wood for people in small
villages to deal with the winter (Winterisation plan).
Step by step, Italians continue working hard in ongoing CIMIC
operations, always with the same aim to speed up the peace process.
Related links: CIMIC
Nations of SFOR: Italy