Moroccan Exercise Taza

Maj. Abdallah Ben Grain Compiled by Capt. Russell Craig
First published in
SFOR Informer#140, June 6, 2002

May 2-4, the Moroccan contingent (MC), that is part of Multinational Division South East (MND-SE), carried out an exercise involving helicopters to practice their role as a divisional reserve.

Nevesinje - The MC typically provides security for Camp Ortijes, MND-SE Headquarters, and the French Battle Group's camp. However, during Exercise Taza, they took to the skies in a multinational event.
Execution of tactical missions
"Exercise Taza was to teach our soldiers skills in heliborne exercises and in the execution of tactical missions that we have to be able to conduct in Bosnia and Herzegovina so as to be able to fulfil our role as the divisional reserve," said Maj. Abdallah Ben Grain, Moroccan chief of operations.
Three sections of the MC's 2nd Company, and one section of the Support Company, deployed into the Kula Valley at Nevesinje. Ben Grain explained that the Multinational Army Aviation Battalion was used for the deployment. Aircraft used for the exercise included two Pumas, two Cougars for troop transportation, two Gazelles as escorts and a seventh helicopter that operated as a command and liaison post. However, the troops didn't spend all their time in the air.
"The heli-lift flew from Mostar to Odzak where the troops dismounted, they then had a 10 km march to the bivouac area," said Ben Grain.
Despite the gruelling march, troop morale remained high.
"After the flight we made a long route march. In the bivouac area afterwards we had some personal time. We prepared food in the area - a forest - and it was nice to be doing so in nature, not surrounded by CORIMECS," said Pvt. El MiLoudi El Falquir.
The following day consisted of familiarisation with different helicopter types, and a tactical exercise. In the morning the MC practiced with the helicopters, honing skills and learning firsthand how turbulent a stealthy insertion by flight can be.
"I learned from the exercise some tactical methods, and the procedures for embarkation and debarkation with different helicopters," said Sgt. Moussa Hadarek, HQ, Pl logistics operator.
The tactical exercise consisted of the MC neutralising and disarming a group of extremists played by the MC's support company through a mixture of stealthy helicopter flights and infantry manoeuvres.
CIMIC as well
Throughout Exercise Taza, the MC conducted Civilian Military Co-operation tasks (CIMIC), in settings that often reminded the MC of Morocco.
"We have left here with a very good impression of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We now have a greater understanding of the people here, so it was a successful CIMIC operation," said Ben Grain.
The CIMIC mission brought humanitarian aid to 20 families in the village of Mahala, as well as dental treatment for the same village and the village school of Guberas.
On May 14, the MC continued to display their enjoyment of working in a multinational environment while also celebrating the 46th anniversary of the foundation of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces. Many members of MND-SE took part in the celebrations.

Related links: Nations of SFOR: Morocco
Training and Exercises

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Photos: Moroccan Battalion

A group of soldiers keep careful watch outside the village of Droce.

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A soldier stealthily checks out a ruined house that is possibly sheltering a cache of weapons.

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People from the local town receive dental treatment.

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Comradeship is displayed between Bosnian-Serb villagers from Guberas and Moroccan soldiers.