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QRF on guard

By Lt. ystein Paulsen
First published in
SFOR Informer #71, 29 Sept, 1999.

Bos Gradiska - Being the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for the Bos Gradiska bridge, on the border between Bosnia- and Hercegovina (BiH) and Croatia in Multinational Division South West (MND-SW), two troops from C-Squadron, Royal Household Cavalry (RHC) Regiment Battle Group are based in a troop house in the small city of Bos Gradiska. Normally, C-Squadron RHC is based in the Banja Luka Metal Factory. After SFOR opened the bridge over the border River Sava in the beginning of August, two troops from the Squadron were based in Bos Gradiska at all times. So as to ensure security on the bridge, if necessary. "Our main concern is the new pontoon-bridge over the the Sava river. We are the QRF on the Bosnian side of the river, while the Czechs are on the Croatian side. We also conduct a lot of patrols in this area. Before we were based here, we had to drive up from Banja Luka to get to our area of responsibility (AOR). It makes it much more easy to do the patrols when we are based in the middle of our AOR," said Lt. Ethan Bond, acting second in command. One of the troops, the guided weapons troop, is based in the Bos Gradiska troop house permanently. The other troop rotates out from the Squadron in Banja Luka whenever it's necessary. "Normally, we rotate the troop when they have to go for their scheduled training, or when their equipment is due in for maintenance," said Lt. Bond.

As armoured infantry, belonging to the Royal Household Cavalry Regiment Battle Group, the two troops in Bos Gradiska use "Scimitar" and "Striker" armoured reconnaissance vehicles. They also have a number of Landrover jeeps for administrative purposes. "When we are going out on patrols, we usie our armoured reconnaissance vehicles, and not the Landrovers. When we are patrolling, we often concentrate on areas with returnees. We talk to them, get an idea of their situation and the situation in the area, and eventually also write down what their needs are. All this goes into an report we send down to the Headquarters in Banja Luka," said LCpl. Alistair Pratt. The soldiers in the troop house have also started to raise money for a children's playground in the village of Orahova, to the west in their AOR. "Orahova is a very poor village, and some guys on a patrol saw that the children's playground was in a very, very bad condition. One of the soldiers has a fiancee who is a teacher in Windsor, where our Regiment is based, and she has started to raise money there. Our goal is to raise enough money to repair their playground, hopefully before the winter sets in," said LCpl. Pratt.

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