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Masters of energy

By 1st Lt. Pascal Pierrot
First published in
SFOR Informer #93, August 2, 2000

Mostar - During any time of the day and night, there is someone that uses water or electricity on the camp of Mostar. "It is a permanent challenge, but one which brings a great pride to the whole of my men," declared French 1st Lt. Mickael Grasmuck, Chief of the deployment assistance platoon of the BATLOG (Engineers Battalion) of the MND-SE.
This platoon, a part of the 2nd Regiment du Genie, consisting of 34 specialists of energy, the water or the trades of the buildings. Only one quarter of the unit performs its first mission outside of France. However, many of these engineers have already been in Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans.
Their mission can be described in only one sentence: to ensure the need for water in Mostar and electricity in sites throughout the MND-SE is never a problem area. This job is far from pleasurable, considering the multitude of sites throughout the division area and the importance of the field-installed machines.
"We ensure the operation and the repair of 100 power generating units whose power varies from 100 to 500 kVA. We give special attention to those that feed the hospital and the headquarters," added Grasmuck. For water, the four MATEM (Water treatment equipment) filter between 130 and 220m3 of water per day.
If the supply of water and electricity constitutes the essence of the mission, the unit also realises the renovation work on buildings. The latest repairs to date took place at Rajlovac and profited the DETSOUT (Support Detachment). The work consisted of renovating more than 4000m2 of walls and ceilings. Six soldiers and a warrant officer have worked over two and a half months to accomplish this task. They also have cooperated with local companies for the hand-over of electric and bathroom installations.
"At least, when we leave, we know that we will leave our mark with the work we've done," said Cpl. Anthony Cornuault.
Furthermore, Grasmuck assists the Civilian Military Cooperation technical teams (CIMIC).
"They come to seek my opinion, and advice, especially to consolidate their decisions," he added. Even though he would like to do more of this type work, it is not the job he's been assigned at this time.
Of their multiple missions for the United Nations and NATO, the members of the platoon always want to remember the quality of the human relations. Because they intervene for the well being of all, the contacts with the other units are excellent and they have established respect and friendship. Here, the opportunity to meet other nations is constant.
Sgt. Christophe Lavenant concluded, "Within the last year, we have been to the former Yougoslav republic of Macedonia and Bosnia. In a few weeks, our mission in Bosnia will be accomplished, and it is possible that we will be in Kosovo at the end of this year. I believe that we do our utmost to allow each one to work more effectively for peace in here."

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: France
SFOR at Work