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Entity Armed Forces study day

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by 1Lt. Oystein Paulsen

First published in SFOR Informer #49, November 25, 1998.

Mrkonjic Grad - Thirteen officers from both sides of the Inter Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) attended a study day, sponsored by the British Light Dragoons Battle Group (LDBG), based at Mrkonjic Grad Bus Depot in Multinational Division South West, recently.

"The study theme today is fighting power, with the emphasis on the moral program. But we will also talk about, and illustrate, how the British Army optimises its fighting power, exchange ideas with the Entity Armed Forces (EAF) officers, get to know each other and break down past barriers," said Capt. Kieran Osgerby, press and information officer in the LDBG.

After a briefing by Lt.Col. David Rutherford-Jones, LDBG commander, about the British Army and the components of its fighting power, the visiting Federation and VRS officers, ranked from brigadier to major, got the opportunity to see some British equipment at a static display. Not surprisingly, it was the Challenger 1 tank that stole the show and received most of the attention.

"Interesting to see the Challenger this near," said VRS Maj. Stevan Pavlica from inside the Challenger-tower, where Cpl. Clive Harris from B squadron, Queens Royal Lancers, briefed him about the tank.

s981202b.jpg (23982 bytes)On the static display were also a Challenger Armoured Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV) from the 8 Armoured Engineering Squadron, a "Warrior" from 1 Battalion Worcestershire and Sherwood Forester Regiment, a Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle from The Light Dragoons, a MAMBA mine action vehicle and a mine clearing flail (AARDVARK).

Ghurkas from B company, 1 Royal Scot, Light Dragoons took also part in the static display, and showed the officers different types of infantry weapons.

An evening dinner in the Light Dragoons officers’ mess ended the study day. There, Maj. Gen. Reddy Watt, general officer commanding (GOC) Multinational Division South West, was one of the guests. Ghurka piper and singers were responsible for the entertainment and made sure that everyone had a good time during the dinner.

Lt.Col. Rutherford-Jones thought the study day was important for all participating parts.

s981202c.jpg (19688 bytes)"I think the study day was important because it enabled SFOR to foster its relations with the EAF. By telling the EAF about the organisation of the British Army, we hoped that the EAF might gain useful information as to how they should move forward with their armies," he said.

But also SFOR gained much from the study day. Discussions took place in syndicates, in which the EAF officers were able to tell the British officers a great deal about their organisation and their wartime experience.

"We had no problem integrating the Federation and the VRS officers. Especially the dinner, which ended the day, was a success. There, the officers mixed quite happily with each other. In fact, many of the officers were old comrades from the former Yugoslavian Army," stressed Osgerby.

The visiting EAF officers said that they were most grateful for the opportunity to come and meet the British SFOR officers at Mrkonjic Grad.

"They said that the information they received was both relevant and interesting. There was general agreement that the day enhanced relations between SFOR and the EAF, and between the Federation and the VRS.

Since we leave Bosnia and Herzegovina on Dec. 5 , we will not hold another EAF study day. But we will encourage our successor to continue in the same vain as us," said Rutherford-Jones.

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