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The Estonian Company in MND-N

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by Maj. Angel Brufau

First published in SFOR Informer #50, December 9, 1998

Doboj - On October 20, 1998 a full Estonian Company was attached to the Danish Battalion (DANBn) of the NORDPOL Brigade, in Multinational Division North. Until that time, the attachment had been a Baltic Platoon Detachment (BALPLADET) had been made up from three platoons from the three Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and commanded by a Danish Major.

At home, and as a further step in the Partnership for Peace, the 126-personnel Rifle Company was attached to the Baltic Battalion with another two rifle companies, Latvian and Lithuanian, stationed in their countries. The Baltic Battalion Headquarters is stationed in Latvia. "The Nordic countries, USA, UK, Holland and France support this 600-presonnel professional unit," said Estonian Company Commander Capt. Urmas Heinmaa, who at one time was attached to the Far East as a member of the former USSR Army and later served as a member of the French Foreign Legion.

s981211q.jpg (32293 bytes)Under operational command of the DANBn in Camp Dannevirke, located just outside Doboj, in the north of Bosnia and Hercegovina, the B-Coy patrols its Area of Responsibility, performs mobile checkpoints and maintains a quick reaction force platoon as well as inspecting seven Entity Armed Forces’ weapon and ammunition storage sites monthly. "As we are a mechanised unit here, we trained in Denmark for two months with their Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) M-113 and tanks, and we were trained in Estonia by UK Royal Marines for four additional months," added Heinmaa.

The members of the unit have been working together for four years in this company, in addition to the  years they spent in the former USSR Army. "Although our conscripts spend 12 months in the Army, this unit is only composed of professionals, some of who saw combat in Afghanistan," pointed out Capt. Heinmaa.

In April 1999, the Lithuanian Company of the Baltic Battalion will replace the Estonian Company in the SFOR mission in Bosnia and Hercegovina.

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