Joint Resolve: a multinational exercise

SLt. Melanie Roodenburg
First published in
SFOR Informer#159, March 6, 2003

To be able to respond to different types of threats, SFOR soldiers also train during their mission. One of the exercises was an exchange between the three Multinational Brigades. During Exercise 'Joint Resolve XXVIII', several units from Multinational Brigade North and Multinational Brigade Southeast were put under the command of Multinational Brigade Northwest. Once the Transfer of command was done, the second part of the rehearsal was carried out, including an operation named 'Kerberos'. The theme of this operation was the smuggling of weapons.

Suica - Several units have been exchanged between the three MNBs. An American company joined the Canadians, Italian Military Police and Hungarian infantry were attached to MNB-NW and a German company from the German-Italian Battle Group was put under the command of the 17 (NL) Mechanised Battalion Garde Fusiliers Princess Irene. They took over the normal framework operations for the Dutch soldiers. These daily activities included, among other things, patrols and guard duties.
Operation Kerberos
The Dutch, who have been made available, performed operation Kerberos. The operation mainly focused on the theme of illegal weapons. The search for these weapons led to what could be called a 'mobile harvest'. Generally speaking, during Operation Harvest, soldiers chat with inhabitants and go from house to house, asking the people to voluntarily turn in their weapons. People can also do it anonymously at specially appointed locations.
For the 'mobile harvest' of Operation Kerberos, Vehicle checkpoints (VCP) were set up. Canadians, Dutch and Italians established checkpoints all over MNB-NW, mainly on Main Supply Routes. Americans joined the exercise with four Apache and three Blackhawk helicopters With these helicopters they supported the VCPs with aerial information. From February, Monday 17 until Sunday 23, several checks were conducted. The Dutch were on nine different posts along and in the area of Routes Emeu, Pelican and Gull.
Positive reactions
On the post P3, close to Suica on route Gull, it was very cold despite the radiant sun. On the open plain, the strong wind made the temperature drop even more. The third platoon, unit six, manned post P3. Commander On Scene (COS), Dutch Cpl. Mike Huijsmans gave a sketch of the situation: "It's very cold here, some endure that better than others. We do everything to stay warm. Fusilier 1st Class Dave van Essen was unlucky. He didn't handle it very well and was taken away. But even though it's freezing, the guys are still doing a very good job. It's running smoothly."
Huijsmans proudly spoke about his work and the results of the checks. "We try to pick out as many as we can. We random-check vehicles that look suspicious. We check their papers and the car itself. If we come across suspicious material we react in a certain way. We seize unlicensed weapons and ammunition. We report all other illegalities to the local authorities. Yesterday we actually found some unlicensed ammunition. I never expected to find anything. It is positive that we found them, because that's why we're here. Besides, it keeps us sharp."
In general, the civilians reacted positively to the investigations. After searching the vehicle the Dutch soldiers hand over a flyer on which the importance of the operation is made clear. Fusilier 1st Class Gijs van Lieshout shared his impression about conducting searches. "Apart from the cold, it's doable. The first reaction overall is irritation, but once they're stopped, they react positively. In general they think it's very good SFOR does this."

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Germany, Netherlands
Training and Exercises

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Photos: SLt. Melanie Roodenburg

In general, the civilians reacted positively to the investigations.


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A German company was put under the command of the 17 (NL) Mechanised Battalion Garde Fusiliers Princess Irene.


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On the post P3, close to Suica on route Gull, it was very cold despite the radiant sun.


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During 'Kerberos' operation, Vehicle checkpoints (VCP) were set up.