Working together in Trebevic

1st Lt. Pedro Fernández Vicente
First published in
SFOR Informer#130, January 17, 2002

The Trebevic Telecommunication Centre (TCC) houses one French and an Italian signals team, a Republika Srpska (RS) signals technician and an Italian infantry squad. While each signals team ensures that their own system works, the Italian Battle Group (IBG) is in charge of the security and the supplying of the centre. All of these groups live and work together in an area the size of a football pitch on top of Trebevic Mountain just east of Sarajevo.

Trebevic - Two different areas form the TCC: a transmission area and a living and maintenance area. The latter consists of interconnected Corimec buildings, the former, of a tall triangular concrete tower. The tower is 83 metres high and has 390 steps, which lead to four levels that house all the communication equipment. The first and fourth levels house the antennas, the second houses RS TV equipment and unclassified military devices. The third level is reserved for classified communication systems.
"Nobody, who doesn't belong to the French or Italian signal teams, can climb the tower without an escort. In fact, nobody from the Italian security squad is authorised to go up alone. When a Bosnian Serb technician is involved, he is escorted by one of us, and they may only see to their equipment," said 1st Lt. Laurent Lauwers, TCC chief.
Life inside
"Trebevic is like an island without resources. We are on top of the mountain surrounded by a dense forest. There are some mines in the forest, only the road has been cleared of the mines. Last Monday we could hear an explosion and saw smoke 300 metres from here. This happens sometimes when an animal steps on a mine. The bad weather conditions increase the feelings of isolation. Last November during the first snowfall we were cut off for four days and we had to be supplied by helicopter. Nowadays the IBG use a snow track to supply us," said Lauwers.
"Our main problem here is the lack of space. Nineteen people live in an area of 50 by 100 metres and this creates a lot of problems for coexistence. There are four different teams here, each with a different mission and a different tempo of life, too. The French team is posted here for six months; the Italian signals team is here for two months, the Italian guard team for 10 days and the Bosnian Serb team for a week. Thanks only to the goodwill of all the teams and iron rules of coexistence can we live and work inside. Everybody has his duty and his social responsibilities, too," underlined Lauwer.
"Life in Trebevic is not easy. When someone arrives here he quickly realises that we can only do our work by following the coexistence rules," said WO Davide Caputo, leader of the Italian security squad.
Complex work
"Trebevic is a very important SFOR transmission node due to all the equipment that is inside. We cover Butmir and the entire Sarajevo valley. With the French RITA System we provide secure transmissions between Rajlovac, Tito Barracks and Zorlac Mountain, near Gorazde. We could let someone flying a helicopter 100 km from here speak with his home in France in real time. Obviously this is just an example to illuminate the possibilities. We process 174 different radio signals to provide video conference cover," said Lauwer. "Trebevic is a little SFOR, with a few people working together to guarantee communications and a lot of people working outside to guarantee our supply," concluded Lauwers.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: France, Italy
SFOR at Work

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1st Lt. Philippe Mouret

Italian snow truck "BW" guarantees support for Trebevic.

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The views from Trebevic are really wonderful.

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From left to right, WO Davide Caputo, WO1 Emmanuel Bouvet, 1st Lt. Laurent Lauwers, WO1 Didier Bottagisi, Staff Sgt. Sebastien Langlait and Staff Sgt. William Lasbraunias.