Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Conflict at the Balkans
In 1992 it took place a mission that would change the Spanish Army forever
The 4th of November of 1992, three months after taking the decision of the Spanish government's participation in mission Bosnia, 714 men and women, most of them coming from the 4th Tercio of the Legion, all of them voluntaries, and 177 vehicles and trailers painted in white from the Tactic Group "Malaga", boarded "El Castilla", a ship of the Spanish Navy, and they departed from Almeria's harbour to Split, where it will disembark the 8th of November.
The 776 Resolution of the United Nations' Security Council provided, the 14th of September of 1992, the sending of multinational forces in humanitarian mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina. During thre years 45.000 soldiers from 35 countries took part in this mission under the name of "Protection Forces of the UN" (UNPROFOR in Spanish).
From that moment, rotations of the different groups took place under the Command of the UN, the group "Canarias", "Madrid", "Cordoba", "Extremadura", "Galicia" and, the last one "Aragon", 8330 men and women altogether, that every six months rotated in order to fulfill their mission, escorted convoys, sanitary attention to civil personnel, building work of infrastructures, as well as the promotion and mediation of the negotiations for the release of war prisoners.
All these units operated in the area, where 22 soldiers of the Spanish Army, 1 Civil Guard and an interpreter lost their lifes illustrating in a dramatic way, the intensity of the Spanish effort in the performance of its mission.
The Spanish troops install their logistic base at Divuldje (Croacia) where they were deployed in order to control the marked axis by the course of the river Neretva, afterwards, detachments were opened in the Bosnian populations of Dracevo and Jablanica. Each of the groups was awarded by deserved actions, highlighting that its sacrifice was awarded too with the "Príncipe de Asturias de Cooperación Internacional" prize in 1993.
The 20th of December of 1995, the UN assigned the control of the mission to the NATO. The new allied force was called IFOR, whose mission consisted on implementing the Dayton agreements.
With this aim, the Spanish Brigade "Aragon" (SPABRI) was framed inside of the Southeastern Multinational Mission with base at the airport of Mostar.
First boarding (Photo: DECET)
By the end of 1996, the war, in military terms, was finished, but there was still so much work to do, the Implementation Force IFOR was called Stabilisation Force (SFOR), which motivated a reduction of the troops' presence and an increase of the civic-military personnel of cooperation. In 2004, the EU assumed the responsability of the operations in Bosnia, this change was materialized through the detachment of the European Union Force (EUFOR) that developed the Operation "Althea" with the presence of three multinational battalions. The 26th of April of 2007 and as a consequence of the success of the elections that took place in October 2006, the three battalions were dissolved, coming back to Spain the group "Cádiz".
The Spanish Army is still present in the Balkan country in a mission that does not entail the same risks from the first peace operations, but involves a special importance for the development of the Bosnian Armed Forces, as well as for the advance of the nation towards its future in the NATO and in the EU.
The current contingent, is composed by a Advisory Embedded Team for the improvement of the TRADOC (EAT-IT), formed by a team of 6 Spanish soldiers and supported by local translators. TRADOC is the Bosnian Army Training and Doctrine Command. This advisory team, that has completeted 8 rotations in these last four years, supports the Bosnian Army in the elaboration of doctrinal publications, instruction manuals, creation and improvement of study plans, in the organization of its structure and in the improvement of the English level in the Bosnian personnel, essential for working with the Atlantic Alliance.
The Spanish Army, with the aim of the commemoration starts a campaign during this month of Novemeber with photos, videos and news, reminding of the mission in its webpage, blog and RRSS. Just like that, by using the hashtag #25añosEjercitoBiH everyone can contribute to the cause by adding their experiences. The Spanish Army foresses the publication of a book about this misión.
Starting Spanish convoy (Photo: DECET)