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QRF always ready

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by Lt. Oystein Paulsen

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

Mrkonjic Grad - A Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook-helicopter comes in low over the hills and approaches the British Mrkonjic Grad Bus Depot’s helicopter landing zone (HLZ). On the ground, a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) from the Bus Depot Camp, in the Multinational Division South West (MND-SW), has secured the landing zone, and are waiting for the helicopter to land.

One of the soldiers radio to the pilot that the HLZ is secured, and the huge helicopter lands. After a few minutes, the passenger pick-up is done, and the helicopter starts to lift, and head for Split on its daily milk-run from Banja Luka--a common, but routine-breaking mission for the QRF soldiers at the bus depot. There, four soldiers are always on QRF-duty, ready to respond to any kind of call-outs.

 s981203e.jpg (21886 bytes)   "We sleep with our boots and our clothes on. Our gear and vehicles are ready to go, so if we get an alarm or call-out, we are able to respond after just a minute or so. During the day-time hours, we only need seconds to respond," said Lcpl. Tim Mosey from the Light Dragoons. Together with Trp. Jonathan Lee Borrow Light Dragoons, Lcpl. Graham Charnley Light Dragoons and L/bdr. Cooke Bly, 1 Royal Horse Artillery Lcpl. Mosey were on duty. "The QRF-soldiers come from different units in the Light Dragoons Battle Group here at the Bus Depot. This is not our daily job, so you could say that it’s a welcomed break and a nice change from our daily duties. When we are on QRF-duty, it is for 24 hours only," said Borrow.

s981203f.jpg (23698 bytes)Camp security is the QRF’s main job, but most of it’s call-out generally involve securing the helicopter landing zone, once or twice a day."We respond to anything that has to do with camp safety. But fortunately, not much happens. Therefore, it is quiet most of the time. Then we get the chance to relax when we are on duty. And that is perfectly alright, meant Lcpl. Graham Charnley.

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