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Zagreb APOD

By CPO Tim Adams
First published in
SFOR Informer #92, July 19, 2000

Zagreb Croatia - "It worked, the plan itself worked," said UK Squadron Leader Ed Cole of the first British troop flights in and out of the new Airport of Departure (APOD) in Zagreb. The aircraft arrived and departed as scheduled. New troops were methodically processed in and out at the new airport offices and buses ferried them to Banja Luka on the highway. All the reasons for moving the APOD to Zagreb proved to be justified according to Cole. He went on to say, "It wasn't terribly tidy at first, but each time we encounter small problems we resolve them."

The old APOD for British troops had been in Split since 1992. It was moved to Zagreb as part of the British goal of reducing the number of their troops in the theatre to 2,000 by the end of the year 2000.
"This move makes us smaller, leaner and more efficient. We only have four people stationed in Zagreb full time," explained Cole.

The four personnel include a liaison officer, two army transport officers to handle compassionate service cases and a corporal 'swipe' to record who is in and out of theatre by swiping the magnetic strip on everyone's ID card through a machine. Each weekly flight is then augmented by four military police, a sergeant and two additional swipes that drive up from Banja Luka.

Cole and his staff are currently working out two minor problems with the catering supplies and airport security as they try to refine the operation even more. Once they are done, their positions and the Joint Movement Control Centre will be de-established and the duties transferred to the Headquarters in Banja Luka.

The UK Seaport of departure in Split has already been closed, and the British plan to limit all planned ship movements into and out of the theatre to just two each year. They will open and close a temporary seaport in Ploce for those movements, which will be staffed with 'surge' teams deployed from England.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: UK
SFOR at Work