Exercise Joint Resolve 32

LTC Norbert Hoerpel GER A
First published in
SFOR Informer#172, August, 2004

Due to the participation of more than 50 high ranking delegations from different countries, the opening Ceremony of Stari Most, the Old Bridge in Mostar, on 23 July 2004 was a big challenge for the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina concerning the security during this event. Local authorities requested SFOR to assist to ensure the safe and secure environment for the opening ceremony.

To provide all the needed support, COMSFOR directed the implementation of a JOINT RESOLVE exercise to take place in MNTF SE Area of Operation in order to let MNTF SE take advantage of the SFOR Tactical Reserve during the inauguration event. The exercise itself was divided into two different operations, Op CHESSBOARD regarding the opening ceremony of the Old Bridge and the following Op NORTHERN WIND.
For Op CHESSBOARD, which took place from 19th to 24th July MNTF SE was reinforced with one MSU Coy from SFOR HQ, the Canadian Recce Squadron A and three helicopters from MNTF NW. Another three helicopters were provided from MNTF N.
During the first phase of Op CHESSBOARD the reinforcing troops arrived at Camp Europe in Mostar-Ortijes on Monday, 19 July, amongst them over 120 Canadian Soldiers with 11 armored vehicles "Coyote". Together with their multinational comrades from MNTF SE they used the following two days to get familiar with their orders and the area around Mostar. In the evenings many social events took place in Camp Europe and new friendships were made. The Canadian troops in particular enjoyed working together with soldiers from other nations; for some of them it was the first time that they had contact to soldiers from France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
The second phase of Op CHESSBOARD started on Thursday, 22 July, with the deployment of all troops into the observation points around Mostar. As there are hardly any trees in the hilly area, the blazing sun and over 40 degrees Celsius was a special challenge for the troops. In putting up camouflage nets they tried to create some shade where they could have a rest. But in spite of these conditions the troops fulfilled their mission remarkably and for the next 52 hours their goal was to observed the area especially around Mostar International Airport. On the afternoon of 23 July some of the troops moved closer to the outskirts of Mostar to co-operate with the local police in security measures around the area where the ceremony took place.
The operation was conducted from the Operation Center (OC) in MNTF SE HQ. As of 23 July the OC was in full function. Because of the reinforcements more workspace had to be installed. The Maneuver Coys reported every four hours that everything was ‘calm and stable’. The MNTF SE Liaison Officer to the local authorities had nothing special to report either. At 2300 hours, when the inauguration ceremony came to an end with a huge firework display over Mostar everybody relaxed but the operation was not yet over.
OP CHESSBOARD was finished and SFOR's support to local authorities, to ensure a safe and secure environment, for the inauguration of the Old Bridge was a great success, but the exercise JOINT RESOLVE was still ongoing.
For the next phase, after the withdrawal of the reinforcing troops, MNTF SE again was reinforced with one British Infantry Coy from MNTF NW to take part together with one German Coy for Op NORTHERN WIND. This operation was conducted in an area close to Sarajevo and consisted of two Search Operations and two unannounced Harvest Operations. Although the results of the Harvest Operations were not spectacular, for both Coys it was important to work together and to exchange experiences.
Finally after Op NORTHERN WIND had been completed and the the British Coy had withdrawn back to Banja Luka, the exercise came to an end.
For all participants the exercise JOINT RESOLVE definitely was a special challenge but also a good experience.

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Canadian Recce company in action.

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