2Lt. Agustín López Marín
First published in
SFOR Informer#154, December 19, 2002
On Dec. 2, a military ceremony, attended by French Brig.
Gen. Bernard Oberto, Commanding General of the Multinational
Division Southeast, took place in the Camp Capt. Carreau in
Rajlovac to mark the creation of the German-Italian Battle
Group (GEITBG), which will be led by Italian Col. Marcello
Rajlovac - As a consequence of the improving situation in
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) SFOR is involved in restructuring
and a re-deploying its forces.
The newly created Battle Group has established its Joint staff
in Rajlovac with three detachments: Tito Barracks (Sarajevo),
Rogatica and Filipovici. Italian Capt. Giovanni Serra is on
his second peacekeeping operation in BiH, this time as G3
Current Operations Officer. "This new structure does
not alter the SFOR mission. We will continue carrying out
the previous tasks assigned to the GE-IT forces, which still
consists of deterring hostilities, discovering illegal weapon
storage and monitoring de-mining activities. Moreover, providing
security and humanitarian aid to the resettlements of returnees
and, of course, giving a close support to joint institutions,
media reform and fair elections for the lasting consolidation
of peace. We have to merge our particular tactical procedures
to plan every activity," said Serra.
German Master Sgt. Mirco Huller is the G3 Operation Situation
NCO in the HQ Staff. "Obviously, the GEITBG has to develop
its missions in a large Area of Responsibility (AOR). There
are four combat companies and every one has its own AOR. We
maintain one Italian detachment in Rogatica and one German
in Filipovici; those units allow a flexible and mobile response
to patrol the AOR and boundaries and ensure a regular check
of Armed Forces in BiH's activities" Master Sgt. Huller
commented. This new BG demands increased intelligence efforts
to anticipate and detect any threat.
Daily life in Camp Capt. Carreau changed with the arrival
of the Italians. There will be new Italian facilities: PX,
restaurant and pubs. The different tastes in food will mean
that in every meal troops can find one dish of their own country.
"It's difficult to get accustomed to the German food
but I like their breakfast," said Capt. Serra. Master
Sgt. Huller commented: "I prefer the Italian pasta and
Lt. Col. Peter Henn is the Deputy PIO GEITBG. He has worked
doing activities in Germany for 9 years. "Italy and Germany
are used to working together at a high level in NATO. But
this is the first time that both countries have composed one
peacekeeping BG with these features. Our task will become
more effective, improving our capabilities, providing mutual
support each other. It will be easier that one German unit
operates in Italian AOR because the bureaucracy will be reduced
with a joint staff," he said. "Previously, I was
responsible for sending articles about German troops in BiH
to the civilian and military newspapers and TV. Now we make
up a joint PIO, merging our labour with the Italian one. Italian
Maj. Antonio Passaro will head this branch. Another objective
for this office is to try to create links among GE-IT troops.
We are preparing posters showing the best images of the Italian
and German countries: tourist places and cities (monuments,
museums, festivities, cathedrals, etc.) with the aim that
every soldier could introduce his own culture to the troops
of the other country," commented Henn.
When both groups watch a soccer match, or when Schumacher
and Ferrari win one Formula 1 race, Italians and German are
closer than ever.
Nations of SFOR: Germany,