On 20 August 2013 the Outgoing Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred STEINGRESZ, relinquished command of EUFOR’s Multinational Maneuver Battalion (MNBN) to his Austrian compatriot Lieutenant Colonel Christoph BLASCH. With this transfer, the unit's future performance and the accomplishment of the MNBN mission and the welfare of the troops has become the responsibility of Lt Col Blasch.
On 16 Jul 13, the current Austrian troops held at readiness inside EUFOR’s Camp Butmir, SARAJEVO were replaced by a new contingent of Hungarian soldiers.
In accordance with Annex 1A of the Dayton Peace Accord and reviewed on an annual basis (currently UN Security Council Resolution 2074), EUFOR holds a mandate to ensure that the Safe and Secure Environment (SASE) is maintained in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
From 18 to 22 March 2013 a joint training program held in Glamoc with Turkish soldier from EUFOR’s Multi-national Battalion (MNBN) and the 6th Brigade of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH). The training was led by the commander of the Turkish Company within the MNBN Captain Ergun Düzü.
July 13 saw a new Hungarian Company join the Multinational Battalion, EUFOR’s military maneuver unit inside Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Maintaining stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is considered very important to the Hungarian Government and this has been demonstrated through their continued support of the EUFOR mission. Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) have been participating in Operation ALTHEA since 2004 as one of the main troop contributing nations.
After six months service in the Bosnia and Herzegovina area of operations, the outgoing Commander of the Multinational Battalion, Colonel Hartmut ÖMER, handed over command at 05 March 2013, to the new commander Lt. Col. Alfred STEINGRESZ.
On 05 July 2013 the departing soldiers of the Multinational Battalion (MNBN) were awarded with the “European Union Common Security and Defence Policy Medal”.
This memorable ceremony was attended by the Commander of EUFOR, Major General Dieter HEIDECKER, as well as other high-ranking staff officers from the Headquarters of EUFOR, including the Chief of Staff, Brigadier General József SZPISJÁK.
In his address to the troops, General Heidecker expressed his sincere appreciation for the excellent work and conduct displayed by each and every soldier in the course of the last 6 months and urged them to maintain their high spirits on their return to normal duties back home.
In his speech, the Commander of the MNBN, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred STEINGRESS, stressed the fact that the last few months had been very demanding. The many challenges they faced included the planning and execution of some combined training with the Armed Forces of BiH, the rotation of the Turkish Company, the securing of Camp BUTMIR and various trainings and live fire exercises.
Lt Col Steingress further emphasized that the highlight of this tour of duty undoubtedly was the participation in Exercise “Quick Response” in April, when his battalion was reinforced by two Intermediate Reserve Force companies. During these two weeks, the MNBN proved that they were prepared at any time to receive and integrate additional companies and to fulfill all given tasks according to the intent of the Commander of EUFOR.
Lt Col Steingress thanked his staff and soldiers for their loyalty, motivation and companionship. He pointed out that working together with soldiers from different nations is particularly challenging, as it is fundamentally important for a group of soldiers to become a cohesive team as quickly as possible. His special thanks went not only to his Deputy and Chief of Staff, Major Csaba HALASZ from the Hungarian Armed Forces, and the Commander of the Austrian Infantry Company, Captain RESCH, but to all soldiers of the MNBN.
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