End of mission
Lt. Anne-Claude Gouy
First published in
SFOR Informer#147, September 12, 2002
How do military Signals work? Who makes the SFOR communications
possible on the safe network in Sarajevo valley? How does
the Republika Srpska (RS) television broadcast? How do RS
cell phones function? And what would happen in the case of
a power outage?
Since 1997, Mount Trebevic has been famous and familiar for
the military, and thanks to its aerial signals useful for
the local population. From all over Sarajevo valley you are
able to see it. Whether at the top of a hill or in the direction
of Pale, that is as long as the fog doesn't hide it.
Mt. Trebevic - When you take the road to Pale, if you're
attentive to a small path on your right and follow it, you'll
climb up until you are at the top of Mt. Trebevic. There you
will find its aerial residents from three nationalities. They
include Bosnians, French and Italians. They're in charge of
integration radio-fill (IRF); supporting French network; rescuing
SFOR network; transmitting the local television; SFOR radio
Mir; radio Andernach; transmitting the Bosnian-Serb cell phones
and finally acting in case there is a power outage. But French
soldiers, who were leaders on the site, are leaving, with
all their material. And it's not so easy to dismantle such
A page has been turned
With all new technology, above all with the satellite,
a page has been turned, in the theatre and also in our own
countries, said French 1Lt. Christophe Vigneron, chief
of Mt. Trebevic's station. It took three days, from Sept.
2 - 4, to unseat the huge installation, with several phases,
several machines, several procedures, and a lot of dedicated
and professional soldiers. Firstly, from the top of the tower,
83-metres high, they took down the satellite dish, using rappelling
methods for all aerial equipment. Then, with the help of French
Legion paratroopers, they dismantled the generator's building
in order to be able to take it away the third day. They kept
the most difficult task for the end because each generator
weighs 2.8 tons.
We thought about everything; weather, civilian workers,
road and the machine size. Even with all these elements, it
might happen something unforeseeable, explained Sgt.
1st Class Nicolas Rouff.
In the wind
Trebevic was a particular site not only for its aerials, but
also for its way of life. Only those who were assigned in
the station are able to know this. The Italian soldiers stayed
only ten days, two of them four months with ten days of holiday,
but the French stayed there during fours month without a break.
We become wild here. We're obliged to live by ourselves,
with only one common room, so people who come here don't understand
that their arrival is disrupting. Some of us like to be visited,
but it makes me anxious, I isolate myself, said Sgt.
1st Class Christophe Dessol.
It was like monastic life, about 20 persons in a little area,
in precarious conditions, out of the rest of the world, surrounded
by a lot of mines, with only three weeks without fog and rain
during four summer months. Add to that some intense winds
which sometimes put down the aerials. And in case of emergency,
night or day, if they needed to go up the aerial, they often
had to run up 390 stair steps because of the risk that they
could be wedged in the lift.
But even though the departure from Trebevic is a liberation
for the material, all those who where assigned there will
always remember this mission at the top.
Nations of SFOR: France
SFOR at Work