On 12 September 2013, EUFOR’s two-week “Exercise Quick Response 2” climaxed with a Distinguished Visitors Day (DVD) at the BiH Army Barracks in LIVAČ.
The event began with a Press Conference which included the Minister of Defense for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Minister Zekerijah Osmić, the Head of the European Union Command Element Lieutenant (Lt) General Leonardo di Marco, the Commander of EUFOR Major General Dieter Heidecker and the Chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (AF BiH) Major General Anto Jeleč.

On 07 September 2013, members of the Intermediate Reserve (IR) Force under the leadership of the Commander of the Multinational Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Christoph BLASCH, and under the watchful and critical eyes of Commander EUFOR, Major General Dieter Heidecker, and Chief of Staff EUFOR, Brigadier General József Szpisják, underwent the final test before having proven their “Full Operational Capability”.

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).

On 5 September 2013, Major General Dieter Heidecker the EUFOR Commander visited RAJLOVAC barracks, SARAJEVO to inspect the training taking place as part of the Integration Phase for Exercise Quick Response 2. Quick Response 2 is part of the EUFOR’s annual training regime and rehearses the activation, deployment and integration of over the horizon forces (Intermediate Reserve Companies) into the EUFOR structure and demonstrates EUFOR’s ability to maintain the Safe and Secure Environment.

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.

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 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.

MNBN Medal Parade

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.

MNBN Medal Parade

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.