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Camp McGovern

By Sgt.Maj. Patrick van de Poele
First published in
SFOR Informer #72, 13 Oct, 1999

Brcko - There is a US Base Camp within a few short kilometres of Brcko and the Croatian border. The camp was named after 1Lt Robert M. McGovern, a congressional medal of Honor who was mortally wounded on January 30, 1951, at Kamyangjan-ni in Korea while charging an enemy position.

It is now home to Task Force 2-87 th Infantry Regiment, the "Catamounts" (mountain lions) of the 10th Mountain Division. The Task Force commanded by Lt.Col. David R. Grey is composed of the Headquarters and HQ company of the 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry as well as companies A and B from the same Battalion. Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion 16th Infantry accompanies them as well as B Company of the 41st Engineer Battalion, both also belonging to the 10th Mountain. Their Armour element comes from the "Big Red One" (1st Infantry Division), and is Alpha Company 2nd Battalion 34th Armour Regiment. Known as the "Orphans" because every single deployment the company has made, it has been attached to other units.

McGovern is the largest of the base camps and was built right on the Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL). Its patrols have a large Area of Responsibility (AOR) to cover and unlike most of Bosnia and Hercegovina it is mainly flat agricultural land. It is also an area that was very contested during the war and is heavily mined. The AOR contains, amongst other points of interest the Town of Brcko as well as the Arizona road market place. Two areas which are closely monitored.

The patrols are made in armoured Humvees though the troops do have Bradley armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) and Abrams Main Battle (MBT) tanks with them.

"We have six days on patrol, going out up to three a day, then comes three days of Force Protection, that is camp guard. We also maintain our Tanks and go down to Eagle Base to train on the simulators. It keeps us busy and we haven't seen the weeks go by". Explained SSgt. Edmond Rouleau, an Abrams Tank Commander.

About 700 SFOR troops are based in McGovern, and even if at first view it is a bleak place, once inside visitors discover the work that has taken place to make the peacekeepers feel as much at home as possible. The garrison of Camp McGovern is lodged in the large, dark brown South-East Asia model huts (SEAHUTS). These large wooded buildings are flanked on each side by covered walk ways. The large rooms have a door giving out to each side, and can house up to eight men.

They enjoy a large number of recreational and sports venues and there is an education centre. Camp McGovern even boasts a mini shopping centre, courtesy of AAFES and it's own "Rose Garden", where people have dedicated rose bushes to peace.

The troops in McGovern also have the chance to work with the SFOR contingents whose AORs border on theirs. The NORDPOL and Russian Separate Air Borne (RSAB) Brigades. These joint ventures and patrols allow the members of SFOR to get to know one another and discover the neighbouring AORs.

For more about the USA participation to SFOR: USA