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Spanish Engineers in action

By Cpl. Nicolas Marut
First published in
SFOR Informer #89, June 7, 2000

Kalinovik - June 1, the Spanish Engineer unit of "Cordoba XIII" Battlegroup, based in camp Mostar-Espana, carried out the destruction of an important stock of munitions: some 200 hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, around 15 kg of plastic explosive and more than 5,000 cartridges of various calibres were destroyed in a single explosion at the Kalinovik destruction site, one hours drive East of Sarajevo.

The operation had started in downtown Mostar. The West-Mostar police had these munitions stocked in a cellar of its HQ nicknamed the "Stone Building", .
Because of the future reunification of the Mostar police inside this building, SFOR was tasked to collect and destroy the stock. It proved to be a delicate operation as some grenades were in a precarious condition and a lot of the ammunition was corroded

The Spanish Explosive Ordinance Disposal team, commanded by Capt. Javier Sanz, went to the "Stone Building" to classify and to sort out the stock. Two persons from the ARTEC of the Multinational Division Southeast accompanied him.

WO2. Montano and SSgt. Pedemonte, specialists in weapons and munitions, determined what was transportable to the destruction site. A total of 19 kg of munitions posed a problem and a decision will be taken as to what to do with this.

The Spanish Engineer Unit, commanded by Maj. Angel Mezquita, came the following day to collect all the remaining materials for transportation to the Kalinovik destruction site in the Italian Battle Group Area of Responsibility.

The operation mobilised about thirty men and some ten vehicles, of which two were Armoured Personnel Carriers and one ambulance. The Spanish Engineer allowed no room for error - three days before, SSgt. Cristobal Floras' recon team selected the best site for the explosion and checked the convoy's route.

During all the operation 1Lt George Fajardo's men provided maximum security, to avoid any intrusion in the security area. The destruction was over at 18:30 without a single problem.


Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain