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Signallers cross train in Tito Barracks

By Sgt. Michael Maddox
First published in
SFOR Informer #91, July 5, 2000

Sarajevo - Communications soldiers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.S. got together June 27 for communications cross training at Tito Barracks in the centre of Sarajevo. During the training, sponsored by the Italian Battle Group (BG), soldiers from various nations learned they all share one language in common - the language of military communications.
The day-long training provided all of the signal men and women a great opportunity to see what their SFOR partners use on a daily basis to carry out missions, as well as simply learn more about their counterparts, said Chief Warrant Officer Claudio Lizzi, communication project officer for the training.

"They are here to learn about communications and the systems of operation. This was organised just to make contacts and get to know everything about Americans, Germany, to know everybody," he said. "They can learn about the technology of the other countries and the differences. It's a very interesting, professional experience."

Lizzo added that he noticed each country makes its own changes in their equipment, so there are many differences between the technologies. He said the German and the French equipment particularly impressed him.

Other soldiers, like Maj. Giuseppe Montesi, a staff officer for the Italian BG, said they enjoyed the training. "It is a good experience for military units. I think it's the first time in this operation that we organised a show like this, so later we will see if the show was good or bad," he said.

Others agreed with Montesi. "I think this is a really good initiative because we have the opportunity to get together and talk about the same speciality. This meeting is a real good thing," said 1Lt. Stephane Bonnaillie, from the French Signal Centre in Tito Barracks.

"I think it's good to get together with other nations," said Pvt. Michael Lauret of the French signal platoon at Tito Barracks. He also said he was particularly impressed with the variety of satellite stations on display. He said he especially like the Spanish Army's equipment because, "They have beautiful communications systems."

The differences in equipment and signal soldiers in general were what made the training exceptional for American 2Lt. Summer Perkins of the 49th Armoured Division.

"I'm very impressed with the systems the other countries are using. Like with the Germans, their equipment is very clean, very new. Some of their things are only five years old," she said.

"There are a lot of similarities between all of the systems, especially between the capabilities of the Spanish and Italians. The other soldiers are very knowledgeable. I think we have a lot we can learn from each other," said Perkins.

Sgt. Markus Doile, from the German Signal Company, said he thinks the differences between countries are interesting, but create no problems.

"I think there is a little difference even though most countries here are from Europe. But I also think we can work together in harmony. I think all of the nations have good tools, just different. I can understand how the equipment from other countries works, but I cannot operate it," he said.

Related link:
SFOR at Work
Nations of SFOR: Italy, Spain, France, US