Exercise EUFOR Quick Response 2023 got off to a successful start with the formal opening ceremony and Distinguished Visitors Day (DVD) on 15 SEP 2023.
The opening ceremony took place on the airfield in Camp Butmir. The parade was under the command of the parade commander Sgt Major Andreas BRIAR. All EUFOR nations were represented on parade with an excellent turn out from the marching bodies of troops. There was a large number of distinguished guests in attendance such as: EU Special Representative Ambassador Johan SATTLER, BiH Minister of Defence Zukan HELEZ, COM NATO Brig. Gen. MCGAHA and many other diplomats, dignitaries and senior military officials.
COM EUFOR then addressed the parade with a speech where he reaffirmed EUFOR commitment to “all citizens of BiH” noting that “our credibility is built upon the fact that we treat all entities and all ethnicities in an impartial and equal manner”. COM EUFOR also stated “I can assure you, that together with our Reserve Forces we are strong enough to fulfil our tasks for the security of the people everywhere in BiH in the shortest time possible”. The speech ended with COM EUFORs rousing call of “One Mission” to which the parade replied in unison “One Team”.
With the parade officially dismissed the distinguished guests took their places on a specially constructed stage and display area on the airfield of Camp Butmir. COM Multinational Battalion (MNBN) Lt Col STEINGRESS requested permission to begin the display from COM EUFOR and the scenario began immediately.
The Master of Ceremonies (MC) informed the crowd that EUFOR assistance has been requested by the authorities of BiH and COM EUFOR has put the MNBN on standby to deploy EUFOR troops. EUFOR HQ has received information from local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) that an incident involving civilians being harassed by protestors is developing in the objective area of “Butmir Convention Centre”. As the situation deteriorates EUFOR is notified that civilians will require urgent evacuation due to the arrival of a hostile crowd. An overflight from a PC-6 simulated a Recon flight and marking of a Helicopter Landing Zone (HLZ). A number of chalks arrived in AB 212 and Mi-17 helicopters to secure the HLZ and form up the Crowd Riot Control (CRC) Coy. The airborne insertion was supplemented by a coordinated land convoy that delivered the remainder of the CRC Coy and HQ elements.
After some attempted negotiations with the crowd by the On Scene Commander (OSC), the CRC Coy was order to move in and clear the protestors from the objective area. As the hostility of the rioters increased a member of the CRC Coy received a simulated injury and was MEDEVACed by a helicopter after EUFOR HQ received a 9-Liner. COM MNBN then authorized the use of less than lethal ammunition, simulated rubber bullets and tear gas was deployed and the crowd was pushed back from the objective area. The CRC Coy maintained a robust cordon in the area keeping the protestors from returning to this site. This allowed for the armoured extraction force to arrive on scene and enter the objective area, the extraction team then searched the compound and extracted the civilians to a secure area.
The dynamic display officially ended with COM MNBN informing COM EUFOR that the exercise had been successfully completed. COM EUFOR then congratulated the assembled exercise troops for their efforts and invited the distinguished guests to a static display and reception. The display was comprised of the equipment and vehicles used by EUFOR during the dynamic display, as well as other capabilities such as EOD and support weapons.
The DVD was very well received and viewed as a huge success by both guests and military personnel.