IBG climbs together with the Federation Army
Lt. Antonio Ruiz González
First published in
SFOR Informer#141, June 20, 2002
On June 3, the Italian Battle Group (IBG) conducted climbing
and mountaineering exercises in Dariva (west Sarajevo) to
the soldiers of the Federation Army. The training was carried
out by highly trained men from the Reconnaissance Platoon
Dariva - The Recon Platoon belongs to the 14th Alpini Regiment,
which forms the base of the IBG. It is posted in Venzone,
in the North of Italy, near Udine. The Regiment is one of
the Julia Mountain Brigade.
"The exercise will consist of three sections; first a
river crossing with a rope, pretending that the bridge is
destroyed, second, climbing a rock wall, and lastly, the de-mining
of the bridge by a team hanging from ropes," said Lt.
Col. Enrico Mattina, IBG, Task Force Commander.
A platoon of the Federation Army took part in the lessons.
Helmets and ropes received a thorough safety check from the
teachers, and later by the pupils.
Some of the local troops were newcomers to the mountain, and
did their best during their first time attempt. Feet, hands
and all five senses helped students get over the rock. The
work was hard but with little risk because the instructors
are experts in this field. Instructor, Capt. Antonio Scarano,
won a gold medal last year in the European Cambrian Patrol
in Wales. This is a military sporting event which consists
of climbing and shooting activities.
The first exercise went quickly. A squad of men could be seen
sliding with their safety hooks fastened over the ropes, manoeuvring
from one riverbank to the other while the protection team
covered the zone.
The second event was climbing up a cliff. The Federation Army
soldiers followed the advice given to them by the Italian
instructors with the help of the translators. The men, both
Italian and Federation, slowly and safely crawled up the side
of the cliff without hesitation.
The last exercise took place on an abandoned bridge; three
teams carried this out. One group was located at the top of
the bridge, the second group placed at the bottom of the bridge
protecting the area, with the last group comprised of two
Italian Alpieri, who were rappelling from ropes. Each one
of the men was hanging over a different side of the bridge.
Adding to the excitement of the exercise was a box placed
on one of the bridge pillar's that simulated an explosive
device. The troops carefully checked the box before they defused
it. Once this was done they passed the box down to the other
Very important mission
Maj. Gen. Anthony Palmer, SFOR Deputy Commander for Operations
was present at the exercise. He spoke to the Federation Army
soldiers, and asked them about their job and their lives in
"I think it is extremely important we develop the best
possible relationship with the armies of Bosnia and Herzegovina,"
said Palmer. "We show them the advantages of joining
NATO in whatever capacity. They will have access to better
training and they will become more professional."
According to Alpieri Platoon Leader, Sgt. Maj. Roberto Giuliattini,
"We use this place for climbing because of its capabilities.
We are looking for another cliff in the Republika Srpska to
use for training. It is a good opportunity for us to be in
contact with the armies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are
teaching, and of course, doing part of our daily training.
To climb together with people of other countries is exciting,"
Nations of SFOR: Italy
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