Suica new forward operating base is operational

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Capt. Benoit Guilloux
First published in
SFOR Informer#145, August 15, 2002

The Dutch contingent has taken over from their Canadian comrades three Opstinas in Multinational Division South-West. The new camp facilities of Suica are scheduled to be finished by late October, but the soldiers of base commander 2Lt. Tawfik Kamil are now manning the camp and carrying out their assigned missions operationally.

Suica - Kamil, 2IC of the Support Squadron of the Dutch Battle Group (NEBG), has two platoons under his command. One infantry and one Recce (reconnaissance) troop. He explains: "We opened this camp because the Canadians are cutting down and we took over a slice of their area of responsibility (AoR) with the three Opstinas (municipalities) of Livno, Kupres and Tomislavgrad. If you look at a map, Suica is in the middle and also within an hour's drive to Bugojno, the main camp. Our BG area is rather large and we are here to maintain security as we do anywhere else. The Canadians and the French BGs are neighbours. The Mortar platoon of the BG will move to Bugojno to fill the gap. Approximately 100 soldiers are now stationed in Suica." Roughly 15 civilian employees will be hired, locally recruited when possible.
Duty and a time to unwind
Sergeant 1st Class Richard van Burik is on duty. He comments: "We have 16-hour shifts with three people on guard. One is in the shelter (Ops room) and two at the gate. Patrols inside the camp are only performed at night time." Soldier 1st Class Sander van Maastricht, Infantry platoon no. 4: "My job is patrolling and guard duty. Otherwise, I try to be helpful. If I can manage, I would like to build a wooden wardrobe for our future accommodation. I think it is a good challenge to make this camp a good place to be, a real base. The surrounding countryside is vast and the roads are long. It looks okay." Soldier 1st Class Eki Finies finds the place different as there is less infrastructure than in Bugojno. He practices his baseball skills during his free time, fellow troop Kamil sometimes joins him in a game.
New in town
The place, a former warehouse, has quite a number of visits these days. A de-mining team is to check on some routes. The local International Police Task Force (IPTF) dropped by to meet and offer their collaboration and to get to know their new contacts with SFOR troops locally. Then, it is a Canadian LAV III entering camp with Sgt. Pascal Dubois and his team on board. They are visiting in order to pick up Cpl. Joris van der Lubbe, one of Kamil's men, and to drive to the local Federation Army camp where they will carry out a weapon inspection. It is also an official hand over WSS-wise (Weapon Site Storage).
WSS mission
Dubois upon arriving in the camp in Kupres introduces Lubbe to 1Lt. Ivan Jakoljevic, the Liaison Officer with SFOR, and asks for assistance in their monitoring task. Lubbe: "We will check all weapons and not the equipment as there is lot stored out here. I have been designated for this job by my platoon commander 2Lt. Martin Leeuwerink, Infantry platoon no. 4, who knows I have special interests in small weapons. I already took part in WSS checks back in '99 but never led one directly."
The men have found some minor discrepancies. Dubois comments: "Should we not have checked properly, we would not have found these small discrepancies."
Apparently some small pieces of equipment were transferred to sites at Vitez and Mostar. The Bosnian-Croat officer realizes what the SFOR men are really doing: "This is like a hand over, it makes no real difference, Canadians or Dutch. I have even worked with Belgians in the past. We all work together just fine."

Related links: SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Netherland

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Photos: Capt. Benoit Guilloux

Neighbouring IPTF officers (from France and India) make a courtesy visit to base commander 1Lt. Tawfik Kamil.

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Work goes on: The YPR (Light Armoured Tracked Vehicle) armament is cleaned in view of participating in upcoming activity at nearby Glamoc range.

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WSS inspection in Kupres: (left to right) Dutch Cpl. Joris van der Lubbe, Federation Army 1Lt. Ivan Jakovljevic, SFOR Interpreter Dijana Grgat and Canadian Sgt. Pascal Dubois.

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Sergeant Maj. Herman Wissink of Geerdink, 2IC of the Armoured Infantry platoon from the Regiment Johan Willem Friso, in the current operations room. Soldier 1st Class Eki Finies, on duty, assists.