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1/2011

REVIEW

In the Role role of Combat Life Savers
Learn more about operations involving Czech Armed Forces service personnel inside.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense met with Minister Vondra
conclusions, the proposal for sharing early warning data bilaterally became outdated. “In this context, we naturally thanked for the older pre-Lisbon offer ad indeed we concluded that in the light of Lisbon and other developments the original offer will not be needed,“ Minister Vondra said in a press conference following the meeting with William Lynn. “We will seek other ways for the Czech Republic to possibly join the NATO system in the future, but that however does not change anything in our support to the NATO missile defense architecture,“ Minister Vondra commented. According to him, the Czech Republic has always sought for the U.S. long-range missile defense system to be incorporated into NATO structures. According to U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, the U.S. had not withdrawn their offer for setting up the SEW center. ”It is simply a matter that Wednesday, June 15, 2011, the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic was the venue to a meeting of the Czech Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn. The meeting attendees also included the U.S. Ambassador in the Czech Republic, H.E. Norman Eisen. Their discussions reviewed the Czech-U.S. defense relationship that has intensified over the past twelve months. The dialogue centered on missile defense, particularly the Shared Early Warning (SEW) project that envisioned locating two computer terminals in Czech Armed Forces installations for the Czech Republic to have realtime access to information on ballistic missiles launched as tracked by U.S. early warning sensors. The offer was initially presented to the Czech Republic in November 2009 as one of many forms that bilateral cooperation between the Czech Republic and the United States takes. The 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon adopted missile defense as a common mission for the Alliance and set a range of specific requirements for capabilities the future NATO missile defense system will deliver to provide protection to European Allies. One of the elements of that is sharing information on missile threats with all NATO Allies, including the Czech Republic, directly from HQ NATO. In the light of the Lisbon Summit

was overshadowed by developments,“ Lynn underscored for the media and went on to say: ”There are many strands for the strategic cooperation between our two countries to follow and develop along.“ Minister Vondra also confirmed there was a potential for expanding bilateral cooperation. ”We have a range of other fields where we have recently started to work very specifically to the effect of identifying possible cooperation between the Czech Republic and U.S. with practical outcomes.“ The discussions also involved other topics – cooperation on research, helicopter crew training and theatre mobility using helicopters. In the meeting, Minister Vondra introduced to Deputy Secretary Lynn the principal priorities for Czech Armed Forces development outlined in the White Book on Defense that was recently endorsed by the Czech Cabinet. After meeting the Czech Minister of Defense and following the press conference, the senior U.S. officials visited the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic to be hosted by the CHOD, General Vlastimil Picek.

Contents
Four Afghani Crosses Now or Never Fighting to Win Confidence of Every Single Soldier and Airman Face-2-Face with AWACS An Archbishop Instead of a Pilot Mentors with finger on the trigger Elite Tiger Air Manoeuvres In the role of Combat Life Savers A Valley Too Thorny Together in Afghanistan Pirates from the Horn of Africa In Search of a Universal Soldier One of the Principal Pillars Raven eyes over Logar In a new role Under Dragon’s Protection Deadly Jungle Under the Biblical Mount The Seeker of Lost Destinies From the School-Leaving Exam Directly to the Air Force The Hunter of War Dukla is the Club of My Heart A Fateful Story 2 6 8 10 12 15 18 22 24 27 30 34 38 42 44 48 50 54 56 58 60 62 64

Dear Reader, You may rightfully ask what it is for a magazine - A review - that you just opened. The answer is quite simple but let me offer you a little bit of history first. Back in 1994, the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic started publishing a quarterly titled ”Armáda České republiky”. From January 1995, the magazine was published four times a year in a dedicated English version with the title of ”Army of the Czech Republic”. The reason was obvious: to reach out and provide the foreign readership, primarily NATO nations’ armed forces personnel, with information on developments in the Czech military that was starting to significantly engage in various activities of the Partnership for Peace programme at that time. Thus, many readers had the opportunity to read about training and equipment of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, involvement of Czech forces in operations in the Balkans as well as participation in foreign exercises. In 1997, the magazine was renamed and published with the title of Czech Army Today until December 1999. From January 2000, foreign readers were able to get quarterly copies of the periodical named Czech Armed Forces Today. The logo and title of the Armed Force quarterly was changed again in 2008 as a slight modification was made turning ”Today” into ”Review”. Periodicity also altered over the years and got settled in 2008 on semiannual publication. Over the past fifteen years, the magazine sought to present information on the Armed Force of the Czech Republic, from 1999 with focus on progressive integration into NATO structures, performance of missions from Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of Operation IFOR to today’s deployments of Czech Forces in Afghanistan for Operation ISAF. 2011 has brought about another renaming for the journal as the title of Czech Armed Forces Review has changed to A Review, and that is the periodical you are now browsing through. Reason for that? Progressive introduction of a single visual style for the MoD public diplomacy endeavour, with A standing for the Armed Forces. Consequently, the MoD publishes A Report (Czech) and A Review (English). The coverage remains the same: we are printing for you, the kind reader, a content covering the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic across the spectrum of its operations. With wishes of enjoyable reading, Jan Procházka, Editor-in-Chief

Published by MoD CR, Public Diplomacy Department Tychonova 1, 160 01 Praha 6, Czech Republic www.army.cz Identification number: 60162694 Address: Rooseveltova 23, 161 05 Praha 6, Czech Republic Phone: +420 973 215 553, +420 973 215 786 Editor-in-chief: Jan Procházka, e-mail: jan_prochazka@klikni.cz Layout: Andrea Bělohlávková Translation: Jan Jindra Cover photos by Daniel Hlaváč Distributed by MoD PDD – Production Section Rooseveltova 23, 161 05 Praha 6, Czech Republic Oľga Endlová, tel. +420 973 215 563 Printed by: EUROPRINT, a. s. ISSN 1803-2125 Registration number: MK ČR E 18227 Published: June 2011

White Book on Defence
It is always vital to have enough courage for one to stand up and fight for what is right and risk life and limb.
Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Alexandr Vondra
Avalanche of Mud and Rocks
It was not the ¿rst fatality among the service personnel of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. We have placed already four crosses under the sharp Hindu Kush peaks. Warrant Of¿cer 1 Nikolaj Martynov of the 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion was the ¿rst Czech servicemember killed in Afghanistan. Along with his unit, he performed missions in the Badakhshan province in the north of Afghanistan in 2007. In the spring, soldiers discovered a remote administrative village named Skazer high up in the mountains, more than two hundred kilometres away from their base back at Feyzabad. It was not included on any maps. The unpaved road led above over two thousand metres above sea level. There was malfunction on one of the vehicles that could not be repaired on spot. Such occurrences were commonplace in the heavy terrain. The convoy split into two. One part continued the mission, the second one was returning to the base. Czech soldiers managed to reach the area medical centre. They handed over to Afghani medical personnel a generator that allowed their bed ward to operate at night. They also consulted possible renovation of the local aid station. Then they carried on driving into mountains. They handed over humanitarian aid in the form of teaching aids, and the Czech medic provided essential treatment to diseased Afghanis. As they were on their way back on May 3, 2007, the weather suddenly changed with roughly forty kilometres to go. The sky became overcast and the grey clouds let down a dense drizzle. At that time, the last vehicle on the convoy got stuck - a part of the road broke loose underneath the chassis. It was necessary to recover the crew, arms, munitions, materiel and inform the base about the problems they had. Rain started to pour heavily down from the sky in the course of the rescue effort. An avalanche of mud and rocks the downpour set free witnesses said sounded like a rolling tank convoy. It swept off everything that stood in its way, including the Czech vehicle and two soldiers recovering materiel. They were Kolja Martynov and Miloš Plášil. Other personnel on patrol were lucky enough to be caught just by the edge of the avalanche. The situation was critical. The storm did not fade out, and there was impenetrable darkness all around. The convoy was moreover split by additional two landslides. It was necessary to render urgent aid to the wounded soldiers; it was momentarily out of question to search the two swept by the avalanche. Martynov had his back turned to the avalanche and caught the full blow. The avalanche literally played with Plášil, it broke his whole body. There was mud everywhere, he could not breathe. Before he could see what is happening, another landslide approached. It struck him with an immense speed. ”I did not know what was up and what down. I was Àying in the air for a moment only to become absorbed by the rolling rock. The strike nearly took my stuck leg off. I felt my shin was Àagging loosely,“ Miloš Plášil recalls the horrendous moments. The rolling soil took him into the bottom of the canyon. He ended up in cold water, attempted to climb the steep bank but it was no go. There was no end to the rainstorm. Lighting lit the landscape for a moment and Miloš saw in the water a wheel torn off the destroyed Land Rover vehicle. And that saved his life. He spent whole night in icy water with heavy injuries. Contrarily to his comrade – Kolja Martynov – he survived. and you will see we are not doing anything extraordinary – all of us seek to achieve savings by cutting bureaucracy, rationalising command and control systems, closing bases and phasing out weapon systems without future potential. The changes at hand will impact the Land Forces, Air Force, the Military Police and other services, and in spite of that only two of their representatives were on the commission (originally only one) – General Žižka and General Pavel. Was it sufficient and were their voices and opinions often heard? More than that. Both are extremely experienced and respected soldiers and their voice was always given a high weight. Also, do not forget they were backed by expert support, including soldiers from the general Staff or those in foreign sta. And it tremendously reÀected in the quality of their contributions. 2012 will be the key year for implementing the White Book – does ”either, or“, or as you coined it ”stop decline and start up growth“, apply to that year? De¿nitely and unconditionally. It is now or never. Including to an outstanding con¿guration of the MoD management and particularly to special relations between us and the military, we trust we will manage. It is extremely important that we share the conclusions and recommendations in the White Book and their realisation is supported not only by the Chief of General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces and whole his team but we have also communicated with base commanders and company and command sergeant majors, and I understand that they also very well realise what we are after, what is at stake and what needs to be done. The White Book on Defence is an indirect tool. Are there measures for you to make sure it can be ”enforced “? First of all, the policy document is endorsed by the Government, which has a substantial weight. The book also contains a list of key tasks and timelines to deliver them. We have continuously updated relevant Committees of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and I believe we are enjoying support across the political spectrum for the proposed measures. And ¿nally a detailed roadmap, supervision and decision-making on implementation will be provided by the Minister, who will regularly update the Government on practical implementation of the White Book. Bringing the White Book to life will require amending some provisions and laws as well as regulations. Do you believe there is a sufficient timeframe provided to staff and endorse with the year 2012 right behind the door? I would formulate the question differently. Please understand that we do not have any possibility – as you say – to provide any timeframes. You should realise that in what has been a record-breaking time from when he assumed the of¿ce the minister submits a document unmatched in the Czech MoD history in terms of coverage, quality and depth of analyses and recommendations. Now we do everything we can to realise it. You spent a three-year tour ur working as NATO Assistant Secretary General. neral. Will the NATO HQ have an understanding nding for the essential changes you described, ibed, for the onu hard truth? Does it not compromise our compromise or ambitions? ? We have employed a number ber of methods commonly used in the he AllianATO were ce; our commitments to NATO s to evaamong the principal criterions luate the steps proposed, we used the conclusions from the regular NATO defence planning reviews eviews and requested extraordinary consultations with NATO experts ts on some of the aspects of the Whiel to te Book. I am going to travel hite hit Brussels to introduce the White ns Book – not only the conclusions but also the method used to develop it – in the principal NATO Defence Policy and Planning Committee. And I am sure the response will be positive. The policy document should be in effect for at least ten years. May possible changes in political leadership impact on its implementation? Nothing is certain in this world and – how Voskovec and Werich sung – ”nobody should ever take anything for granted“. Nevertheless we did everything we could for the White Book to enjoy support of all political parties and so for possible changes in political representation not have any major repercussions on its implementation. I also trust that our business-like approach, rationality of our arguments and genuineness of data we present, that all of that will help strengthen durability of the document.
by Jan Procházka p y Marie Křížová photos by

Another soldier of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic made the highest sacrifice.

Four Afghani Crosses
Tuesday May 31st, 2011, shortly after nine hours local time, an Iveco Light Armoured Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device during movement of the 2nd deployment the Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team at Salar community in Wardak province, Afghanistan. MSG Robert Vyroubal suffered a fatal injury during the incident.
An Afghani interpreter died shortly after the incident. Commander 2nd deployment the OMLT, Lieutenant-Colonel Michal Kucharský suffered a light injury. The driver´s condition was substantially worse, but his life functions were eventually stabilised and he got transported on a Czech Air Force plane into the Central Military Hospital in Prague. Investigation of the incident had not been ¿nalised when this article was developed. A wire roughly two hundred metres long was found on the spot, which was most probably used for activating the explosive from a stand-off location. “Based on certain indications and imagery we concluded there had been a very strong charge with about 50 kilo TNT equivalent. It was placed in a culvert underneath the bitumen road,“ Czech Chief of Defence General Picek commented. ”We have counter-IED measures in place as a matter of standard. We may consider changing tactics to an extent. For obvious reasons, I will not go into detail.“ MSG Robert Vyroubal was a member of the 73rd Tank Battalion. His body was transported to the homeland and buried with military honours in his home community of Bouzov – Kozov on Friday, June 10, 2011. The last farewell

Comms guy with a broken leg
Not a year has passed from that tragedy and the Czech Armed Forces raised additional two crosses in Afghanistan. On Monday, March 17, 2008, a foot patrol comprising the Czech Military Police Special Operations Group accompanied a Danish CIMIC team in the town of Girshik in the province of Helmand in the south of Afghanistan. It was half past nine a.m. A suicide bomber who activated his explosive stood about ¿fteen metres from them. The explosion was so strong that it killed not only Warrant Of¿cer Milan Šterba, but also four Danish soldiers and three civilians. In addition to that, Czech member of the patrol Warrant Of¿cer JiĜí Schams suffered a heavy injury and another soldier was wounded lightly. The young British communications guy had his leg almost split into two parts after the explosion. Regardless of pain, he established connectivity and sought to call in help on the radio. “I admired him for having managed despite indisputable pain. It was his ¿rst day in Afghanistan,“ another one of those involved on that mission, Warrant Of¿cer Michal Adamec, admitted. “All those who possibly could were helping to the wounded or took round defence positions. We expected another attack, as they usually come in several waves. Be they an explosion of parked cars, or ¿ring rocket-propelled antitank grenades.“ Thankfully nothing like that happened. Despite fast evacuation and provision of medical aid, the consequence of the explosion was tragic. Armed Forces of the Czech Republic lost and outstanding soldier. “Prior to this incident we got into a ¿erce ¿re during a three-week siege of Taleban´s bastion,

Now or Never
The ¿nal chapter and with it the whole White Book on Defence has been written, comments staffed and language corrections implemented. Expert commission headed by the First Deputy Defence Minister JiĜí Šedivý could say “the job is done“. But the contrary is true. Writing the White Book has only been the initial step on the long path delivering the proposed recommendations on future shape and development of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra writes in his foreword: “It is not a pleasing text to read, but we cannot approach solutions without frankness“. Despite that, JiĜí Šedivý read the book a thousand times and considered the use of every single word and each submitted proposal from many different angles. How thorny was the journey to the desired conclusion and the statement – the job is done – was the question posed to the ¿rst deputy minister of defence. Minister Vondra said in a press conference launching the White Book on Defence: ”It is a true material, that is what distinguishes it from all other transformations. It says where we are and where we want to go to.“ Ho difficult was it to find the truth and describe it? In other words – truth takes pain sometimes. So how painful would the impact on the MoD and the Armed Forces be? Let us not speak about pain, but about necessity of the proposed steps that will lead to the implementation of the White Book conclusions. The true pain in the form of overall degradation of the MoD Department and especially the Armed Forces would come in the future if we would sit with hands folded and do nothing. With all steps we take, we seek to strengthen the muscle, i.e. executive and operational components and namely the armed forces, and to do away with the fat. Let us look for instance at essential measures Latvia has taken or those prepared by the Dutch (see articles at army.cz). We simply do what is common and necessary in many other states in the current economic situation. It is only pity that many of our recommendations are not new; many problems have been identified namely by the military in the past, but they were not heard. You sought to engage in the process jointly military and civilian components as well as civilian experts. How did that model work? From the outset, we employed integrated or composite civil-military working teams and saw that opinions and recommendations of the military were reÀected in the ¿nal outcome. Without military experts, we would hardly be able to gather the volume of data and analyses the White Book eventually contains. The same applies to a whole number of the White Book’s conceptual aspects, be it the section dedicated to personnel management or military capabilities. The

process of continuous and indeed daily collaboration also helped create a brand new quality of relations among us, civil servants and the military. Today we have much greater con¿dence and respect in each other. Involving outside experts also helped us a lot, including members of the White Book Commission, or a whole number of other consultants who provided comments on various sections of the text. Thanks to that open cooperation, we produced an outcome we do not need to be ashamed of. The White Book also states: ”We are at a crossroads. The situation we are in is critical, but there is a way forward.“ Do we know those points of departure and are we able to identify them and pushed them forward? For example the year 2015 – will we have enough funding to acquire new supersonic aircraft? Let us not narrow the issue down to supersonic aircraft only. First of all, once the policy is approved the Minister will submit options to the Cabinet, including those envisaging the extension of costs over time. The Cabinet will then decide, whether it will accept the White Book recommendation to continue supersonic capability at all, and eventually endorse one of the options we propose. The greater challenge however is that there is a number of additional investments accumulated in 2015 timeframe, which we will simply not be able to cover. We therefore proposed a range of saving measures that have mostly been publicised, so I will not discuss them. Some relate to military capabilities. But again may I recommend that you took a look in how business is done in other countries

was attended by his family as well as Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra, Chief of Defence General Vlastimil Picek and his comrades of the 7th Mechanised Brigade. “Master-Sergeant Robert Vyroubal belongs to heroes - he fell in combat. I reassure all of you that the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic will never forget his name. I commissioned him in memoriam to the rank of Lieutenant and bestow upon him the highest defence decoration, the National Defence Cross,“ Minister Vondra said. “It is always vital to have enough courage to stand up and ¿ght for what is right and risk life and limb. Some might say he was a soldier and was paid for his foreign operational deployment. I strongly reject such opinions; he was a citizen of a country, whom we sent abroad to help increase our security. He therefore deserves our respect and thanks same as all of those who fought for this country in the past.“ The wounded commander of the 2nd deployment the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team Lieutenant-Colonel Michal Kucharský decided to continue serving his tour of duty.

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7

Operations

rubrika

Training
international environment, as it became sort of my second mother tongue thanks to West Point.“

In the role of Combat Life Savers
A Czech convoy was returning to COP Soltan Kheyl after a weeklong wearisome patrolling. A fierce fire started somewhere at the front. An Afghani National Army unit got under fire on the road by insurgents firing 30 cal machine guns and AK-47 rifles. NATO exercise Brave Beduin validated the operation of the Czech computer analytical centre evaluating radiologic, chemical and biologic picture Forty casualties treated
Similar episodes were not exceptional at all during the eight-month tour the deployment served in Afghanistan. During that period, approximately forty Afghani soldiers were injured, some of them heavily, plus there were eight fatalities. The life of many Afghanis was saved from this destiny by the Czech unit’s doctor Lieutenant-Colonel Ivo Kašpárek and medic Warrant Of¿cer Mojmír Zdráhal. ”We worked together with the doctor in very improvised conditions. We have two medical and life-saving kits available. In many instances, we provided ¿rst aid on the spot where soldiers had been injured or attacked. Upon stabilising basic life functions, we secured transport of the wounded by air MEDEVAC aircraft,“ WO Zdráhal describes his work. “In most cases, those were ballistic traumas; several soldiers hit improvised explosive devices. But we also had to deal with tragic road accidents involving fatalities. Both I and the doctor serve in military hospitals back in the Czech Republic, speci¿cally in Prague and in Olomouc. It was a very good practical experience for us, as ¿rearms injuries do not occur in the Czech environment that often.“

Division of labour
The total of 49 members of Danish Armed Forces out of 139 foreign participants from 12 nations were involved in the exercise on various levels. Before it started, a staff of thirty spent roughly a month’s time working out documentation. National representatives spent quite some time over a giant map at the initial stage in addition to that, as they had to place all the monitoring centres on it. Nuclear strikes and chemical warfare attacks build up on the map now. Nuclear attacks are of course ¿ction all the way through. They are said to be a cold war affair. The present general understanding is that the threat is not as high. Possibly, but it is just an impression we get. The peculiar thing about Brave Beduin is that it involves Air and Navy in addition to Lad Forces. And so measurements are also taken on the sea surface. We are not used to anything like that in the Czech Republic. But our centre is updated there dozens of Allied vessels sailing Danish waters. We realise possible targets are out there. So it might be a sort of advantage. Sampling on sea may improve quality or measuring ground strikes and vice versa –measurement on land to re¿nes data gained at sea. ”I receive messages from my colleague and upload them into the system. I ¿gure out what zone they apply to. I zoom in the map and check for military forces located in that area, because I could get additional more speci¿c info from them. I seek to eliminate duplication. Then I add reference number to the message and resend it to my colleague for distribution to other units,“ Master Sergeant Ludmila Šenková explains how a section comprising the computer analysis center. ”It may happen that later I receive a higher quality information on the attack – I correlate it and send it to forces as an update.“ Though MSG Šenková serves in the most important section of the center, she is only third in the row. The ¿rst to receive information from Brigade-level computer analysis teams is an operator who checks them for technical correctness and sorts them out for processing. Another of¿cer judges them from specialist point of view checking for discrepancies. The fourth point is responsible for registering and storing information received. The ¿fth workplace specialises in assessing reports on nuclear attacks, the sixth evaluates reports containing re¿ned measurements and the seventh draws incidents into the map.

An Afghani young man in grey-blue uniform lied on the ground and heavily bled from a gunshot injury. Still under ¿re, two Czech soldiers gave him ¿rst aid immediately. They ¿xed the tourniquet and tried to stop bleeding. One of the wounds however was so extensive that they had to keep their ¿ngers on it throughout the transport. Otherwise he would bleed to death. Other personnel of the Czech contingent cleared the way in the meantime for the group to reach the aid station. Doctor and medic of the 1st Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) stabilised the patient and prepared him for transport by a helicopter into a ¿eld hospital. Though the soldier lost two litres of blood, he managed to survive thanks to an early help.

The 1st Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) deployment returned from an eightmonth operational tour in Afghanistan

In a new role
Skive is a sleepy town with barely twenty thousand inhabitants in central west Denmark. Earlier in May this year, the city was woken up by somewhat unusual teeming of uniforms of twelve NATO nations’ armed forces. The Engineer Academy compound at the town outskirts hosted the largest computer analysis groups evaluating Chemical, Biologic Radiologic and Nuclear situation in the history of the NATO Alliance.

distorted and inaccurate. That is a thing that cannot be easily simulated in a single-echelon exercise. Our mission includes identifying such mistakes early and redress them, check the reports for correctness and sort out duplicate reports. It is a great school for us. We store our observations, including detected mistakes and use them later on in training back home in the Czech Republic,“ LTC Vohralík underscores. The individual working these errors most intensively is MSG Ladislav Kojzar. ”If there is an incoming message with obvious mistake, it gets to my table. I print it out and go to see the author at the respective brigade. I try to ¿gure out where is the problem there. The corrected information then comes back to us. Preparing plays for various exercises in the Czech Republic, we seek for them to be as real-world as possible. And ¿delity here is truly high. There are various nations represented here, with different quality of language skills, and having different procedures. Communicating through protective masks is also demanding. All of that may distort speech. To that effect, I create a database of faults that I will use later in training in the Czech Republic.“

In the course exercise Brave Beduin, Czech CBRN specialists keep rotating at various posts. A new team of individuals that have not worked together so far starts to work. The thing is that people practised as many activities as possible. ”This exercise is not about for people to demonstrate what all they are able to do. It is primarily for us an excellent opportunity to improve ourselves. That was the objective we came here to pursue. This is an environment we can do mistakes in. We are able to cope with them; we learn to correct them. And that is our key goal, the point is not to depart from here as big stars,“ LTC Vohralík says. Other exercise participants have such understanding too. They improvise frequently. For instance they have a colleague with strong German accent reporting instead of them on the phone, or the brie¿ng is performed by a Belgian Colonel the audience have never seen before. All of that enriches the exercise and generates considerable lessons.

Everybody knows each other
The exercise however plays one more role. There is an event aptly called the icebreaker right at the beginning. The thing is that people

With emphasis on training
At the beginning of May earlier this year, 54 service personnel of the 1st deployment the Czech OMLT returned back to the Czech Republic upon completing their assignment. Most of them were members of the 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion in Chrudim. But the OMLT also included artillery ¿re controllers and forward air controllers, a doctor, medic and other specialists. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ladislav Švejda, they operated together with the soldiers of the 6th kandak Afghani National Army from September till December 2010 at Camp Black Horse nearby Kabul and then in the Wardak Province till the end of April 2011. The unit comprised the command and mentoring (training) teams. According to the Deputy Chief of General Staff Czech Armed Forces – Director of the MoD Joint Operations Centre Brigadier General Aleš Opata, speci¿city of this mission was that it focused on training the Afghani National Army, which is presently one of

the top priorities ISAF forces have in Afghanistan. To what extent the job is done will show according LTC Švejda only at the end of the tour of 3rd OMLT deployment, when the ANA kandak is scheduled for validation. An HQ commission will decide whether the unit is quali¿ed for operating autonomously.

Fragment in shin
Sergeant First Class Lukáš Zeman never got into a combat engagement during his eight-month tour in Afghanistan. “But I was on a convoy that got ¿red at. Fire was not directed at my vehicle, so it did not come to me to be that dramatic. One does not yield to the feeling of imminent

danger,“ SFC Lukáš Zeman says. ”I did suffer an injury during the tour though, but it was not in combat but during preparation. We performed training with the Afghani National Army and it included making a ¿re. I was just passing by as an explosion suddenly occurred and I felt something has bitten me in my shin. Only then we found out a fragment drilled into it. Afghanis perhaps by mistake got some munitions into the ¿re and one of the fragmentation stuff exploded.“ But Afghani soldiers were otherwise very diligent. One needed to align with their different cultural habits. It just required mutual understanding, respect and a great load of patience, not to yield to frustration that something does not go. ”When we told them for example to prepare ¿fteen men for a patrol, they chose completely at random ¿fteen soldiers who were at hand, equipped them with materiel erratically and off they went. We tried to explain they would be better off having elaborated a plan for such activity, have an understanding of how it will proceed and what they needed to take along with them to prevent lack of some type of materiel they would essentially need. But it was a big problem for them. Planning was completely Dutch for them,“ SFC Zeman explains.

Language barrier did not play as big role as it could have seem at the ¿rst sight. There were interpreters available, mostly from English to Pashto and Dari. Two of them were even able to translate directly from Czech. Many Afghani soldiers however spoke with Czechs using pretty good Russian. „One of the Afghani commanders was a graduate from Higher Of¿cer Airborne School in Ryazan. He was an experienced soldier who had served in the Afghani Army already when there were Russians in this country. I spoke with him only in Russian, it was much more enjoyable and straightforward,“ LTC Švejda says. As a commander, he was apparently happy about bringing all his troops from this challenging mission back home without any harm. “If I did not believe that, I would not have come with them here in Wardak. When our soldiers got shot at, they reacted exactly as they were taught. If you are in distress, you proceed according to pre-trained drills. Your head will not let you anywhere else.“

Allied exercises on annual basis and Brave Beduin in Denmark is one of them.

NBC specialty only afterwards
Based on an agreement between the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the city of Liberec where a Czech-British chemical, biologic, radiological and nuclear defence brigade command headquarters for the ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) was established in January 2008. In peacetime, the Brigade staff comprises one British and four Czech commissioned of¿cers. Upon activation, the staff is to comprise sixtynine soldiers, of whom there are twenty-¿ve Brits. Subordinate units are assigned by the 31st Chemical, Biologic, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Company in Liberec and a similar British unit. The command participates in several It is the only exercise involving NATO computational analysis centres and its history dates back to 1980s. It is extraordinary particularly because of its broad international participation and the depth of scenario. Incidents are monitored from the moment they occur until full threat elimination. The continuous prestige the Czech CBRN service enjoys was attested by the fact that the Czech soldiers from Liberec played one of the most important roles in this training exercise with many nuclear strikes, dozens of chemical attacks and leaks industrial contaminants. “We had a chance in the past to see how we can work on the level of brigade and army corps; now we have been offered to play the role of area control centre. That is the highest echelon of warning and reporting. In the exercise, our centre’s mission was to monitor situation in the

by Vladimír Marek Photos by Vladimír Marek and 1st Czech OMLT

whole territory and off the coast of Denmark,“ explains Lieutenant-Colonel Petr Vohralík, Chief of Staff CBRN Brigade assigned to ARRC. The only Czech graduate from the prestigious U.S. Military Academy in West Point so far joined the CBRN service in 2002. His colleagues value him for working hard and efforts he exerted to get in to the new specialty. ”I do realise I will not probably be able to absorb CBRN specialty as much as people pursuing it throughout their careers. But I do my best to stand up to requirements placed on me and reveal secrets of NBC warfare,“ says the Chief of Czech group in Exercise Brave Beduin. ”Experience from USMA can be used in vocation. Since I gained some familiarity with computers at West Point, I am perhaps somewhat better prepared to formulate requirements regarding my vision of us automating as many our operations as we possibly can. The present military environment is also close to me thanks to the school. I understand how all the structures should look like. English is also an asset in this

Mistakes more than gold
“The exercise is designed so, that individual national play teams must get the information from the map and documents provided by organisers. Then they follow national procedures to pass the data over to their computer analysis teams and they insert it into computers and share it on the warning and reporting system with others. The process naturally allows faults to occur. Someone makes a slip, some mishears, or take wrong notes. Additional mistakes may occur in evaluating the information and ¿lling out formalised reports. Information coming to our Area Monitoring Center is many times

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It is always vital to have enough courage for one to stand up and fight for what is right and risk life and limb.
Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic, Alexandr Vondra

Avalanche of Mud and Rocks
It was not the first fatality among the service personnel of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. We have placed already four crosses under the sharp Hindu Kush peaks. Warrant Officer 1 Nikolaj Martynov of the 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion was the first Czech servicemember killed in Afghanistan. Along with his unit, he performed missions in the Badakhshan province in the north of Afghanistan in 2007. In the spring, soldiers discovered a remote administrative village named Skazer high up in the mountains, more than two hundred kilometres away from their base back at Feyzabad. It was not included on any maps. The unpaved road led above over two thousand metres above sea level. There was malfunction on one of the vehicles that could not be repaired on spot. Such occurrences were commonplace in the heavy terrain. The convoy split into two. One part continued the mission, the second one was returning to the base. Czech soldiers managed to reach the area medical centre. They handed over to Afghani medical personnel a generator that allowed their bed ward to operate at night. They also consulted possible renovation of the local aid station. Then they carried on driving into mountains. They handed over humanitarian aid in the form of teaching aids, and the Czech medic provided essential treatment to diseased Afghanis. As they were on their way back on May 3, 2007, the weather suddenly changed with roughly forty kilometres to go. The sky became overcast and the grey clouds let down a dense drizzle. At that time, the last vehicle on the convoy got stuck - a part of the road broke loose underneath the chassis. It was necessary to recover the crew, arms, munitions, materiel and inform the base about the problems they had. Rain started to pour heavily down from the sky in the course of the rescue effort. An avalanche of mud and rocks the downpour set free witnesses said sounded like a rolling tank convoy. It swept off

Another soldier of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic made the highest sacrifice.

Four Afghani Crosses
Tuesday May 31st, 2011, shortly after nine hours local time, an Iveco Light Armoured Vehicle hit an improvised explosive device during movement of the 2nd deployment the Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team at Salar community in Wardak province, Afghanistan. MSG Robert Vyroubal suffered a fatal injury during the incident.
An Afghani interpreter died shortly after the incident. Commander 2nd deployment the OMLT, Lieutenant-Colonel Michal Kucharský suffered a light injury. The driver´s condition was substantially worse, but his life functions were eventually stabilised and he got transported on a Czech Air Force plane into the Central Military Hospital in Prague. Investigation of the incident had not been finalised when this article was developed. A wire roughly two hundred metres long was found on the spot, which was most probably used for activating the explosive from a stand-off location. “Based on certain indications and imagery we concluded there had been a very strong charge with about 50 kilo TNT equivalent. It was placed in a culvert underneath the bitumen road,“ Czech Chief of Defence General Picek commented. ”We have counter-IED measures in place as a matter of standard. We may consider changing tactics to an extent. For obvious reasons, I will not go into detail.“ MSG Robert Vyroubal was a member of the 73rd Tank Battalion. His body was transported to the homeland and buried with military honours in his home community of Bouzov – Kozov on Friday, June 10, 2011. The last farewell

everything that stood in its way, including the Czech vehicle and two soldiers recovering materiel. They were Kolja Martynov and Miloš Plášil. Other personnel on patrol were lucky enough to be caught just by the edge of the avalanche. The situation was critical. The storm did not fade out, and there was impenetrable darkness all around. The convoy was moreover split by additional two landslides. It was necessary to render urgent aid to the wounded soldiers; it was momentarily out of question to search the two swept by the avalanche. Martynov had his back turned to the avalanche and caught the full blow. The avalanche literally played with Plášil, it broke his whole body. There was mud everywhere, he could not breathe. Before he could see what is happening, another landslide approached. It struck him with an immense speed. ”I did not know what was up and what down. I was flying in the air for a moment only to become absorbed by the rolling rock. The strike nearly took my stuck leg off. I felt my shin was flagging loosely,“ Miloš Plášil recalls the horrendous moments. The rolling soil took him into the bottom of the canyon. He ended up in cold water, attempted to climb the steep bank but it was no go. There was no end to the rainstorm. Lighting lit the landscape for a moment and Miloš saw in the water a wheel torn off the destroyed Land Rover vehicle. And that saved his life. He spent whole night in icy water with heavy injuries. Contrarily to his comrade – Kolja Martynov – he survived.

Comms guy with a broken leg
Not a year has passed from that tragedy and the Czech Armed Forces raised additional two crosses in Afghanistan. On Monday, March 17, 2008, a foot patrol comprising the Czech Military Police Special Operations Group accompanied a Danish CIMIC team in the town of Girshik in the province of Helmand in the south of Afghanistan. It was half past nine a.m. A suicide bomber who activated his explosive stood about fifteen metres from them. The explosion was so strong that it killed not only Warrant Officer Milan Šterba, but also four Danish soldiers and three civilians. In addition to that, Czech member of the patrol Warrant Officer Jiří Schams suffered a heavy injury and another soldier was wounded lightly. The young British communications guy had his leg almost split into two parts after the explosion. Regardless of pain, he established connectivity and sought to call in help on the radio. “I admired him for having managed despite indisputable pain. It was his first day in Afghanistan,“ another one of those involved on that mission, Warrant Officer Michal Adamec, admitted. “All those who possibly could were helping to the wounded or took round defence positions. We expected another attack, as they usually come in several waves. Be they an explosion of parked cars, or firing rocket-propelled antitank grenades.“ Thankfully nothing like that happened. Despite fast evacuation and provision of medical aid, the consequence of the explosion was tragic. Armed Forces of the Czech Republic lost and outstanding soldier. “Prior to this incident we got into a fierce fire during a three-week siege of Taleban´s bastion,

was attended by his family as well as Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra, Chief of Defence General Vlastimil Picek and his comrades of the 7th Mechanised Brigade. “Master-Sergeant Robert Vyroubal belongs to heroes - he fell in combat. I reassure all of you that the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic will never forget his name. I commissioned him in memoriam to the rank of Lieutenant and bestow upon him the highest defence decoration, the National Defence Cross,“ Minister Vondra said. “It is always vital to have enough courage to stand up and fight for what is right and risk life and limb. Some might say he was a soldier and was paid for his foreign operational deployment. I strongly reject such opinions; he was a citizen of a country, whom we sent abroad to help increase our security. He therefore deserves our respect and thanks same as all of those who fought for this country in the past.“ The wounded commander of the 2nd deployment the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team Lieutenant-Colonel Michal Kucharský decided to continue serving his tour of duty.

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the Musa – Oula. As the commander, Milan Štěrba always remained cold-blooded and got us safely out of the ambush. He made decisions in a second how to take cover, where to attack and where to withdraw,“ Michal Adamec said.

Despite having left, he is here to stay
May 31st, 2011, will always mark a deep scratch in the hearts of the 2nd deployment CZE OMLT and service personnel of the 73rd Tank Battalion in Přáslavice. On that day, named ”Black Tuesday” by some of us, Master-Sergeant R.V. left our ranks forever. He was killed in the line of duty in Wardak province, Afghanistan, as part of the 2nd deployment the OMLT that primarily comprises the members of 73rd Tank Battalion. A part of ourselves left us for ever along with his demise. We lost his smile, his catching optimism and strength he often imbued with those who knew him. Virus, as everybody called him, I daresay at the whole battalion, was always able to come up with something funny that made people enjoy themselves and perfectly relaxed the atmosphere. He was a soldier who took service seriously and performed accordingly, but was able to live a full life, as is known by those of us who had the honour to serve with him and enjoy life with him from time to time. I believe I am speaking on everybody´s behalf: “Virus, it hurts us very much, trust us, we will not forget, you are here to stay forever, in our hearts, everyone has you inside their hearts and that is where you will stay, for us you have never departed and you are here to stay.“ We would like to express our most sincere condolences to your family and we will do everything we can to be of assistance to them at this grievous time. Cheers comrade. 2nd Deployment CZE OMLT, Wardak, Afghanistan

The way I knew him...
It is May 31, 2011, 14:30 hrs, a hot Afghani afternoon at Camp Carwile. About twenty Czech service personnel sit under a shelter, they are quiet, pensive, sad. Normally the heartbeat of our White Village is strong even at this time of the day. Today, however, as it would cease. We lost one of us. For some he was someone they knew, for some comrade and some had a good friend in him. He was all of that for us. I met Robert in 2007 during predeployment training. I came to the roster in our company building I read that my team leader in Al-Basrah, Iraq, will be Warrant Officer Vyroubal. I did not have a clue who he was, so I started to investigate inconspicuously with more senior colleagues who that guy was. They mostly had similar answers for me: “Virus? You have a real good luck, he is absolutely cool, a fair bloke; he understands the trade and does not spoil any fun.“ I had to concur with them in the next months. For me personally, his voice was the most impressive – a blues singer´s gruff voice. First I suspected him of pretentiousness, but I was wrong. Whether he issued orders, explained, debated, laughed or spoke seriously, always with his absolutely unmistakable voice. I imagined how he would babble this way at his sonny at home and it always made me laugh. You know it when you hear someone behind you and you have to turn around because you cannot tell the person by the voice? That could not have happen to you with Virus. Whatever he spoke about and with whomever, he always regularly inserted salvos of catching laughter into his speech. Those listening to him had to laugh or smile at least. Those were not cheap jokes; the point was not to simplify things – it was completely heartfelt and spontaneous. It was his way to take things as they are and optimistically. Interpersonal relations are an extremely complicated matter, same among soldiers and among soldiers on a foreign operational tour they can be as a barrel with gunpowder. But I never heard anybody speak badly about Robert. With his nature, he was able to get on terms with everybody and everybody with him. He would not say no to any request and perhaps that is why others did not manage to refuse when he asked them. It was completely disarming. Many of us sometimes need to exercise much self-constraint; he did not have to bother with anything like that; it was simply in him. When soldiers spend many hours doing night ”stand-ups “, it is all amplified that the stand-ups during infinite hot nights are interrupted from time to time by mortar fire and running for the closest shelter, they say many things that would not be uttered under any other circumstances. Those are frequently sensitive personal things. With his frankness, Robert made me speak about many things. I have not doubted for a single seconds that those are things to remain just among us. Most of the time when you do not want anything to get out of your conversations, you say something like: “But it is just among us …“ Not with him; you felt that he knew very well what was just between us and what not and what would stay that way. I would not dare that I was a comrade of Robert´s, perhaps a friend (hopefully). What happened, happened. His life went out took quickly and unexpectedly; the loge and more painfully we will be getting on terms with losing him. Life will go on and on behalf of us staying here I would like to promise that he will stay in our hearts forever.

On the way to Copper Mount
Another tragic event took place just six weeks on in the province of Logar. The Czech Reconstruction Team started to operate there in March 2008. On Wednesday, April 30, 2008, a convoy of twelve vehicles set off the base. Four of them belonged to the Afghani National Army. The operation sought to perform reconnaissance of the Aynak mountain range where test drills were made at the time to establish the occurrence of copper ore. The location was acquired by Chinese miners and the Czech service personnel were tasked to find out about the progress they had made in surveillance and when mining could possibly begin. It was a purely military patrol without civilian experts. The movement proceeded absolutely seamlessly until the explosion. The improvised explosive device was hit by the fourth vehicle on the convoy. The commander was First-Lieutenant Robert Chudý and Warrant Officer Radim Vaculík was the driver. Both of them served with the 102nd reconnaissance battalion. Their Humvee initiated the IED with its front wheel. That was reflected by the damage done to the vehicle front section. Though it was obvious at the first sight that it was a tragic event, there was no havoc; everybody acted exactly according standard operating procedures, including taking defence positions, observation and searching. It was necessary to find whether there was not any other IED around. Czech soldiers recovered persons from vehicles and medics on the convoy rendered first aid to the wounded soldiers. Sadly there was no way to help the driver, MSG Radim Vaculík. MEDEVAC arrived within forty minutes from the incident and transported them into U.S. Role 3 medical facility in Bagram. 1LT Robert Chudý lost one arm and one leg. Had it not been for an early and qualified medical response, for which commended American doctors at Bagram commended the first responders, the consequence could be much worse. Radim Vaculík, who was killed in the incident, came from the community of Hluk at Uherské Hradiště. Before he joined the military, he had been a truck driver and hauled cargo primarily to Russia and to the East. In his community, he was a member of volunteer fire corps association. All those who knew him agree he was a cheerful and kind lad. Genuinely cool one.

by CPL A.V. on behalf of 2nd OMLT Czech Armed Forces Task Force ISAF

by Vladimír Marek Photos by Vladimír Marek, Miroslav Šindelář and CZE PRT

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White Book on Defence
and you will see we are not doing anything extraordinary – all of us seek to achieve savings by cutting bureaucracy, rationalising command and control systems, closing bases and phasing out weapon systems without future potential. The changes at hand will impact the Land Forces, Air Force, the Military Police and other services, and in spite of that only two of their representatives were on the commission (originally only one) – General Žižka and General Pavel. Was it sufficient and were their voices and opinions often heard? More than that. Both are extremely experienced and respected soldiers and their voice was always given a high weight. Also, do not forget they were backed by expert support, including soldiers from the general Staff or those in foreign sta. And it tremendously reflected in the quality of their contributions. 2012 will be the key year for implementing the White Book – does ”either, or“, or as you coined it ”stop decline and start up growth“, apply to that year? Definitely and unconditionally. It is now or never. Including to an outstanding configuration of the MoD management and particularly to special relations between us and the military, we trust we will manage. It is extremely important that we share the conclusions and recommendations in the White Book and their realisation is supported not only by the Chief of General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces and whole his team but we have also communicated with base commanders and company and command sergeant majors, and I understand that they also very well realise what we are after, what is at stake and what needs to be done. The White Book on Defence is an indirect tool. Are there measures for you to make sure it can be ”enforced “? First of all, the policy document is endorsed by the Government, which has a substantial weight. The book also contains a list of key tasks and timelines to deliver them. We have continuously updated relevant Committees of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and I believe we are enjoying support across the political spectrum for the proposed measures. And finally a detailed roadmap, supervision and decision-making on implementation will be provided by the Minister, who will regularly update the Government on practical implementation of the White Book. Bringing the White Book to life will require amending some provisions and laws as well as regulations. Do you believe there is a sufficient timeframe provided to staff and endorse with the year 2012 right behind the door? I would formulate the question differently. Please understand that we do not have any possibility – as you say – to provide any timeframes. You should realise that in what has been a record-breaking time from when he assumed the office the minister submits a document unmatched in the Czech MoD history in terms of coverage, quality and depth of analyses and recommendations. Now we do everything we can to realise it. You spent a three-year tour ur working as NATO Assistant Secretary General. neral. Will the NATO HQ have an understanding nding for the essential changes you described, ibed, for the onu hard truth? Does it not compromise our compromise or ambitions? ? We have employed a number ber of methods commonly used in the he Alliance; our commitments to NATO ATO were among the principal criterions s to evaluate the steps proposed, we used the conclusions from the regular NATO defence planning reviews eviews and requested extraordinary consultations with NATO experts ts on some of the aspects of the White Book. I am going to travel el to Brussels to introduce the White hite hit Book – not only the conclusions ns but also the method used to develop it – in the principal NATO Defence Policy and Planning Committee. And I am sure the response will be positive. The policy document should be in effect for at least ten years. May possible changes in political leadership impact on its implementation? Nothing is certain in this world and – how Voskovec and Werich sung – ”nobody should ever take anything for granted“. Nevertheless we did everything we could for the White Book to enjoy support of all political parties and so for possible changes in political representation not have any major repercussions on its implementation. I also trust that our business-like approach, rationality of our arguments and genuineness of data we present, that all of that will help strengthen durability of the document.
by Jan Procházka photos p by y Marie Křížová

Now or Never
The final chapter and with it the whole White Book on Defence has been written, comments staffed and language corrections implemented. Expert commission headed by the First Deputy Defence Minister Jiří Šedivý could say “the job is done“. But the contrary is true. Writing the White Book has only been the initial step on the long path delivering the proposed recommendations on future shape and development of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra writes in his foreword: “It is not a pleasing text to read, but we cannot approach solutions without frankness“. Despite that, Jiří Šedivý read the book a thousand times and considered the use of every single word and each submitted proposal from many different angles. How thorny was the journey to the desired conclusion and the statement – the job is done – was the question posed to the first deputy minister of defence. Minister Vondra said in a press conference launching the White Book on Defence: ”It is a true material, that is what distinguishes it from all other transformations. It says where we are and where we want to go to.“ Ho difficult was it to find the truth and describe it? In other words – truth takes pain sometimes. So how painful would the impact on the MoD and the Armed Forces be? Let us not speak about pain, but about necessity of the proposed steps that will lead to the implementation of the White Book conclusions. The true pain in the form of overall degradation of the MoD Department and especially the Armed Forces would come in the future if we would sit with hands folded and do nothing. With all steps we take, we seek to strengthen the muscle, i.e. executive and operational components and namely the armed forces, and to do away with the fat. Let us look for instance at essential measures Latvia has taken or those prepared by the Dutch (see articles at army.cz). We simply do what is common and necessary in many other states in the current economic situation. It is only pity that many of our recommendations are not new; many problems have been identified namely by the military in the past, but they were not heard. You sought to engage in the process jointly military and civilian components as well as civilian experts. How did that model work? From the outset, we employed integrated or composite civil-military working teams and saw that opinions and recommendations of the military were reflected in the final outcome. Without military experts, we would hardly be able to gather the volume of data and analyses the White Book eventually contains. The same applies to a whole number of the White Book’s conceptual aspects, be it the section dedicated to personnel management or military capabilities. The

process of continuous and indeed daily collaboration also helped create a brand new quality of relations among us, civil servants and the military. Today we have much greater confidence and respect in each other. Involving outside experts also helped us a lot, including members of the White Book Commission, or a whole number of other consultants who provided comments on various sections of the text. Thanks to that open cooperation, we produced an outcome we do not need to be ashamed of. The White Book also states: ”We are at a crossroads. The situation we are in is critical, but there is a way forward.“ Do we know those points of departure and are we able to identify them and pushed them forward? For example the year 2015 – will we have enough funding to acquire new supersonic aircraft? Let us not narrow the issue down to supersonic aircraft only. First of all, once the policy is approved the Minister will submit options to the Cabinet, including those envisaging the extension of costs over time. The Cabinet will then decide, whether it will accept the White Book recommendation to continue supersonic capability at all, and eventually endorse one of the options we propose. The greater challenge however is that there is a number of additional investments accumulated in 2015 timeframe, which we will simply not be able to cover. We therefore proposed a range of saving measures that have mostly been publicised, so I will not discuss them. Some relate to military capabilities. But again may I recommend that you took a look in how business is done in other countries

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ranČ rany o ob a ob Š ihy nih G inistr ílé k o m elníka vu B ra þ á íp vo n pro pĜ ení bliky repu ise ruþ kom a dopo ýeské il í ra r ny štČn ných s í ob roje štČn iš ji ozb k za bliky ontrola branu u 1 p la é re t ká k sti za o esk ka atic odis vlády ý emokra ovČdno d p dp Ĝístu Ĝízení a hu a o ice a í b n bs Civil zení o nské am e je Vym cko-voj ec ti rám Poli lativní is Leg í 2 tĜed stika itola pros eri Kap gické harakte ýR te c jmy a rizika a dní tní zájm Str la y k Zá eþnos rozb h í p Bez eþnostn ATO ýR p ČN h sil Bez bran nýc ní o roje 3 ola ce ozb h sil ýR kolektiv práce it p lu k c a Ka a fun po ený ýR ní s Ĥ roje Role le ozb obranČ zinárod orgán e ích Ro ce pĜi ci m iviln k Fun ce v rám dpoĜe c o k Fun ce pĜi p k Fun 4 ání la í o it nov ízen Kap nné plá ké Ĝ omic Obra kon hled 5 e a a la o c p e ito Kap þní rám omický ohled ní n n p e Fina kroeko omický ého Ĝíz k Ma ekon mic o ro n Mik m eko dé té ní li Sys ova 6 otiv itola tní a m p a n K pete é Kom orita lid Ĝízení í Pri náln ér erso ri u

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34 34 38 39 44 44 44 46 47 52 56 56 59 66 74 74 79 81 84 87

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White Book on Defence

Fighting to Win Confidence

We do not want to give up on our ambitions, but we are considering abolishment of multi-echelon command and control for instance. What does the future hold for the command headquarters in Olomouc and Stará Boleslav? The reality is clear. Operational level command headquarters will be abolished. But it is true to say that there will be one more component between the General Staff and Brigades. Two components with roughly eighty personnel will be created. I underline components, not operational level headquarters. One for the Land Forces and one for the Air Force. Their mission will be to steer training, they will not be in charge of operational assignments. Let us get back to Chapter 6 for a while. It reads: ”Instructors play a central role in training.“ Their position and payscheme is not adequate to that though… We are also aware of that problem, especially in relation to their ranks and remuneration. We need to adjust both. Soldiers often become instructors at the end of their service career having assembled a body of experience from foreign deployed operations, from training in international environment able to transfer it appropriately. It is not tolerable for instructors to be ranked corporals and sergeants in the future. We discuss changing it to master sergeants or warrant officers rank. Those individuals have been through years of hard work and we need their

experience to be passed on. Vyškov is the ideal place. Changes are necessary and the process is painful, believe me. General Opata deals with similar problems in the Komando course. Eleven chapters, dozens of charts, fifteen-member expert commission to develop the White Book including only two uniformed experts, although general-ranked. Was it not too few to represent the military? I do not see any problem in the number. The expert commission did not develop input documents; their task was to evaluate the submitted materials. A high number of military personnel were involved in developing them and the credit goes to all of them. We did not vote in the expert commission, so our two voices could not be overridden artificially. We worked in a comprehensive fashion, chapter by chapter. Conversely, it was interesting to gain familiarity with opinions and views of civilian experts involved in development of this document. It makes you to take a different

perspective on some subjects, see them in a broader civilian context. The civilian security perspective is often very interesting. General, we began with a question from the Facebook and we will also conclude with one. People visiting the pages ask about the future of the reserve component… The Active Reserve Component is legitimate and will be retained. Regulation of its status and position will be important. The active reserve today works on volunteer basis and mostly associates ex-military servicepeople. The challenge is that majority of them was trained on hardware and weapon systems of older generation. Active-duty units today have new highly sophisticated equipment, whose mastering consumes some time and money. The objective will be to create an active reserve system comprised of career soldiers who commit themselves on retirement to serve with reserve units for a definite period of time. Those people will be capable of being activated for service with combat units equipped with the existing advanced hardware and weapon systems. Consequently, our plan is to form reserves to augment combat units. It does not mean at the same time however that we would not welcome the existence of active reserve units on the voluntary basis as they exist today. We will still need forces for guard and patrol duties in emergencies, for which no specialists are needed; in other words, we do not close the active reserve component for volunteers coming from the civilian sector. Let me ask the final question. The White Book was completed. What will be the greatest challenge in its implementation? The key is to stabilise personnel. We may have full depots and hangars of shiny hardware but we are fighting for confidence of every single soldier and airman.

of Every Single Soldier and Airman
When the White Book commission was established, Brigadier Miroslav Žižka was the First Deputy Chief of General Staff and first and indeed for some time the only representative of the uniformed part of the MoD on the working team. The commission and the large team of experts finalised their efforts just a short time ago. While the White Book has been eagerly awaited by many, General Žižka answered the questions that we asked and some of those the Czech Armed Forces Facebook page contains
General, the White Book has become a true phenomenon for the Armed Forces, being lively discussed, including on the newly launched Armed Forces Facebook page. I will borrow the first question from visitors of the social network and I will touch on the raw right away. Are there changes expected regarding service personnel pay scheme? The issue of remuneration is quite complex. We do realise it is essential to revise the remuneration scheme, especially for basic level soldiers. The existing remuneration system does not allow the military to be competitive in the job market. The change needs to be done. One of the options is to revise internal budgeting. Today, we have fifty percent of MoD budget allocated for mandatory expenditures, i.e. for remuneration of personnel, twenty per cent for investments and the remainder of thirty percent for current expenditures – operation and maintenance. So the 50-20-30 model. Any revision of defence appropriations, meaning reduction, in turn decreases the amount in those fifty percent. If we want to speak about a change for the better we should realise at what price. Yes we can reduce the number of defence personnel, but it is not a systemic solution, because we contrarily need to keep the number of service personnel or rather increase them to the objective force of 26,200 personnel, because that is the number needed to fulfil the ambitions. One of the options is an internal restructuring of the budget. The question is whether to make use of a 60-15-25 or 60-20-20 matrix. But even that does guarantee an optimal solution, because we are restricting funding for modernisation, essential maintenance and renovation. There is another option at hand currently worked very intensively. That envisions a change in paying various benefits, allowances and extras. We have intensive efforts underway to arrive at the solution that would enable us to get junior and senior NCOs salaries back to the level of December 2010, i.e. before the general ten percent cut. We also seek to balance the prepared taxation on the housing allowance. The bad condition can be illustrated using the following example. We have an increasing number of junior NCOs and time they spend on sick leave. Why? If there are individuals for example resident in Pardubice and working in Jince, they have lesser expenses on sick-leave than working in Jince and keeping two homes up. Financial balancing sounds optimistic. But is it viable? Something has to change, otherwise the military will depopulate. The Minister with the Chief of General Staff prepare specific steps. Let us not discuss money anymore and dive into Chapter 6 the White Book: Competent and motivated people. Let me quote: ”The career system comprises of a set of enforceable principles for centralised, transparent, competitive and selection-based service career growth.“ Will we strictly enforce it? We have to realise several key factors impacting personnel management. One of them covered by the White Book is that military profession will not be a lifetime career for 70 to 80 percent of service personnel. That is a crucial message. As far as enforceability is concerned, the objective is to have the possibility to check the personnel management system anytime based on defined criteria. We have information that not all soldiers in their posts meet the qualification requirements. We have to change the system in a truly brutal manner and force people to complete their required education, pass mandatory courses and the like. Yes, we will have to tolerate a transition period. But then the period of “protection“ will be over. If we do not make it enforceable we will be carrying this problem forward over and over again. It was mentioned in various public presentations on the White Book that the next year 2012 would be critical. What are we to be afraid of? We have already discussed money and difficult future in this sphere. We are also concerned with possible retirement of experienced soldiers and airmen. And year 2012 may be critical. The reason is simple: we have 4,000 servicemembers with more than twenty years of service completed. Terms of retirement, end-of-service entitlements are now calculated based on the 2010 income and that is obviously higher than the income in 2011. So if a part of service personnel leaves the military at the end of this year, then the year 2012 will obviously be critical in terms of personnel. The solution will not be easy, but we will manage the effects operatively. There are talks about closing airbases, abolishing some services, decommissioning and selling some military equipment. In short, there is much “guaranteed” information… One of the White Book’s keynote ideas is: – the discussion is about phasing out equipment and weapon systems, not the loss of capabilities that people posses. Saying for instance that a tank battalion has certain service life what we mean is that tanks have a service life. Speaking about the KUB (SA-6 Gainful) missiles, we again refer to their service life. We are not discussing soldiers and their capabilities, possibilities and options available to retrain for other systems, different occupational specialties, other specialisms. I underline we do not negotiate and do not consider reduction in the number of service personnel, because that would imply us discussing giving up some of our ambitions, and we do not want that.

by Jan Procházka photos by Marie Křížová

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NATO
The NATO airbase Gielenkirchen was the venue to an accession ceremony in honour of the Czech Republic’s officially joining the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control System

Face-2-Face with AWACS
The unique NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control – NAEW&C) as well as the NATO Airborne Early Warning Programme Management Organization (NAPMO) welcomed its eighteenth member – the Czech Republic! That happened on the 17th day of May 2011, when the official ceremony concluded nearly a two year’s accession process.

For the international community populating the NATO airbase in Geilenkirchen, May 17th is an ordinary day. E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft come rolling to the runway shortly after eight o’clock. ATC clears them for take-off in turns. Four Pratt & Whitney jet engines on the Boeing B-707/320 machines set the machines with a typical rotating radar dome on their backs rolling. Roughly halfway through the runway the Sentry gets airborne and climbs to its flight level. Shortly after that, however, senior officials of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, not only from the Prague-based General Staff, but also from various NATO command headquarters located in Germany, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands, began to gather at the club

of the local unit known as the E-3A Component. May 17th, 2011, becomes an extraordinary day – the Czech Republic is joining a prestigious club of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. A short but proper ceremony officially brings Czechs into the NAEW&C program. Commander E-3A Component Brigadier-General Burkhard Pototzky and the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic General Vlastimil Picek come to the Geilenkirchen Main Operating Base (MOB) flag field. “We are very proud that our multinational Component has gained such a valuable new member. This accession advances the integration of the Czech Republic into NATO structures,“ said Brigadier-General Pototzky in his remarks and underscored that Czech professionals strengthen capabilities of the unit under his command. ”Since we support operations in Afghanistan, Libya and the Mediterranean and provide cover for many high visibility events and humanitarian aid missions all around the world, our deployments have an extremely high operation tempo. The more I value the Czech Republic’s active participation in the NAEW&C program that significantly strengthens NATO’s overall defence capability and mission readiness,“ the E-3A Component commander stated. General Vlastimil Picek expressed gratitude to the training units on the base for the helping hand they extended to the Czech service personnel and said he fully concurred both with the political decision on the Czech Republic’s accession to the NAEW&C program and the accession talks that were successfully completed with signature by all participating states. “I am particularly pleased that the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic already has four members actively participating in this NATO program. Another four of our specialists will be assigned to Geilenkirchen starting August later this year,“ Czech Chief of Defence said. Then he took from the hands

of the Czech national military representative in the NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen and AWACS pilot, Major Milan Vojáček, the Czech national flag and handed it over to Brigadier General Pototzky, who passed it on to two flag bearers to raise it onto the mast with military honours. The ceremony ended with national anthems of Germany and Czech Republic played. Fifteen minutes after ten o’clock, the international community welcomes the Czech Republic amidst them with a long applause. “It is a great day not only for me, but for the whole Czech defence community. We may be rightly proud to have become full members of this exclusive NATO unit. The efforts we have invested in accession talks on daily basis yielded the desired outcome,“ the Czech representative in NAPMO, Mr. Jiří Bednář, expressed his feelings.

The Czech Four will be Eight
In terms of operational use, the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control System effectively complements continuous awareness of the situation in airspace of interest generated by ground sensors. At the same time, it provides command and control capability for air operations over given territory in case of absence of a ground-based NATO air command post. The capability is invaluable especially for operations over enemy territory in crises. Lessons from operations and support to military operations in the Balkans, in Iraq, Afghanistan and last but not least in Libya proved its mobility and ability to effectively respond to crises. It is not a secret that in addition to operations the system important element strengthening NATO airspace security in the framework of the NATINADS system as well as high visibility events such as NATO Summits or Defence Ministerial meetings. Shortly: priority is attached to airborne warning, continuous air picture, control of air force and air defence weapon systems,

support to naval operations, support to force command and control, airspace management coordination and support to search and rescue forces. ”I regard the Czech Republic’s accession to the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control system a very positive step. The E-3A Component is a highly valued part of NATO, especially now with the concurrent operations in Libya and Afghanistan. It is indeed a cutting edge technology, and the fact that we are in will positively move professionally ahead,“ underscores MajorGeneral Petr Pavel, the Czech national military representative in SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). Director of the MoD Force Development Division – Operations Division, Brigadier-General Bohuslav Dvořák, makes a follow-up comment: “Every foreign tour served by Czech military professionals brings back valuable lessons into the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic. I am confident that possibly the best terms were negotiated for the Czech Republic. Correct to say that funding was one of the limiting factors. Training pilots, navigators and specialists for operation crews flying the E-3A AWACS aircraft are extremely costly.“ It should be mentioned in this respect that the Czech Republic’s share in overall cost is 0.4 % and the greatest burden out of the common pie is borne by the Federal Republic of Germany: 33.2 %. Accordingly, Germans have the second highest number of personnel in the E-3A Component, slightly less than Americans. Czech personnel Major Milan Vojáček (pilot) and Captain Jindřich Sněhota (navigator) are presently assigned to Flight Crews while Major Stanislav Hebr (tactical director) a Senior Warrant Officer David Švagerka (surveillance operator) are members of Mission Crews.
by Pavel Lang photos by Radko Janata

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Guest
Msgre Dominik Duka: When I was a little boy, I was growing up in the shadow of military sites and uniforms.
showed a high degree of mutual cooperation and recognition, which is what matters most. Do you think these people will be able to make use of the experience they get there later in their career? Certainly. The experience helps them personally, it helps them realize the dimension of their spiritual mission in the society, and it will teach them what churches need most, i.e. modesty and considerateness. And this is priceless. Are you satisfied with the standard of chaplaincy in the Czech Armed Forces? What direction should it take in future? I am not within this service. However, I attended various meetings of military clerics when I was the bishop in Hradec Králové. I believe that the people working in this field definitely do not discredit the church. If you were a young chaplain, would you be interested in the spiritual service in the army? I have repeatedly said, since my time in Hradec Králové, that I would rather be a military chaplain in Iraq or Afghanistan than deal with some problems that the bishop is required to handle. I think that a stint at the base, where something really important or even one’s life is at stake, helps one see petty wars and trifle worries from a different perspective. There are not that many worshippers in the army; our military chaplains must have quite a hard time to make themselves heard and attract people around them, mustn’t they? Our society is neither militant nor particularly atheistic, but it is secularized as a result of forty years of communist atheization. However, we realize that eighty-five percent of the Bible is about the man and his problems. If a cleric can learn how to be with and for people, it will open

An Archbishop Instead of a Pilot
Dominik Duka, the Archbishop of Prague and Czech Primate, was born on April 26, 1943, in Hradec Králové. In January 1968, he was co-opted to a secret novitiate of the Dominican Order. He was ordained two years later. He is known to the general public for his attitude to the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic and military matters in general.
How much has your life changed since you were appointed the Archbishop, is it a much exposed position? I have much less privacy than I used to have in Hradec Králové. I am “lived”, so to say, rather than living my own life. I must devote my life to my mission and my tasks. I am not complaining, but it is more demanding than it used to be. Your father served in the so-called Army of the Protectorate, later also in our air unit in the United Kingdom. How do you remember him, how much did he shape you? When I was a little boy, I was growing up in the shadow of military sites and military uniforms. In this respect, my father was an ideal, a paragon of virtues, and also a hero in my child’s eyes. I do not remember the time of WWII from my own experiences, but rather from narrations of others. As time went by, I also experienced a moment of the deepest humiliation, not just for him, but for the whole family. Still, I have retained pleasant memories of my father, dressed in uniform and with a saber, on the occasion of the opening of the Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Králové, during President Edvard Beneš’s, or at ceremonial oaths and during Corpus Christi celebrations. The corps of officers and professional NCOs formed cordon lines at such events. At that time, there were many soldiers in Hradec Králové. We even had three generals, two in green uniform and one from the air force. For a little boy I was, it was quite a display. This was also the reason why I always replied I wanted to be a pilot when asked what I want to be. Was it only because of your father’s example, or were you in any way attracted by the military environment? February 1948 came and very unpleasant times followed. When I was a little boy, I could see soldiers’ wives worrying what would happen. Next came layoffs and later imprisonments. I lived through this all and I will never forget it. The military environment showed a great deal of solidarity and sociability. I have rarely seen something similar later in my life. History is one of your hobbies. Are you also interested in military history, in what your father was through during WWII? I heard my father’s story directly from him, at the time when I had a knee injury. I was lying on the bed for three weeks, and he came to my bed and narrated about the anabasis every night, starting with his trip to Italy, escape to guerillas and distressful departure to England. But he also described later periods of his military life, including spells of time in the Loreta and Mírov Military Prisons. I got to know the two jails personally, as a little boy, when visiting my father there. I obtained additional information from publications dealing with that period. After all, even my Dominican fellow brother Jiří Veselý, who was a chaplain of these units, has written a work on their defection to guerillas. When the book “Hácha’s Melody Boys” appeared in bookshops some time ago, I even wrote a letter to its author and told him he had misspelled two names in his book, my father’s and his friend’s. I also watch various TV or film programmes on military history and military art in general. You served as an army medic for two years back in the 1960s. Wasn’t it too big a disillusion for you, or could you cope well with the tough service which was typical at that time without any problems? I remember fondly my conscript service. I had my basic training in Prague, in a unit stationed in Karlín, and we had a boot camp of sorts in an outpost in Uhříněves. It was no problem for me. I knew that one should expect something like this in the army. I spent most of my time in the army in Trnava, in a garrison infirmary. I also found a number of people in the officer corps there who knew who I was and sympathized with me, including military doctors or the unit’s chief medical officer, whose wife was a niece of Ambróz Lazík, the Archbishop of Trnava. I have very pleasant memories of those years. I also met soldiers, university graduates who were conscripted for two years, because they had not attended ROTC courses at the university, such as sculptor and later professor Jánoš Nagy. It was a great experience for me. Moreover, it was an opportunity to get acquainted with the Slovak ecclesiastic and cultural environment. You profess order and discipline. Is this innate, or have you acquired this trait by education? I think it is a combination of both. You once considered joining the Jesuit Order, which is known to impose a military discipline of sorts, but you finally opted for the Dominicans. Why? My choice was not based on living examples, it was due to literature. At the time of the First Republic and after the World War II, the Dominicans had their own publishing house named Krystal, which published books and magazines. I thus knew the priests writing for it. I knew their spiritual and intellectual mindset. The white habit may have played a role as well. Moreover, I had an opportunity to get acquainted with their ex-Provincial, Dr. Habáň. Those were the reasons why I became a Dominican. You once praised the cooperation between the army and churches. You said it could be a model of cooperation between the state and churches. Do you really find an inspiration in this field? I do, and not just with respect to relations between the state and churches. The cooperation with the army is a model for other areas in which the church takes part in activities of state institutions, such as prison service, police or health care. The agreements between the church and the army are based on mutual respect and willingness to cooperate. And this is the reason why the cooperation between the church and the army is so unique. You visited our soldiers in Afghanistan some time ago. What are you impressions from the trip? I must say they are very good. The Czech Armed Forces, and our society and state as well, can be satisfied with what these units are doing. What I saw there, but also what I heard from the US colonel commanding the base and military chaplains from other countries, makes me convinced that our units have a very good standard. A trip like this carries certain risks; is it easier for a cleric to suppress such worries? Personally, I love adventure; there is a desire to experience such things somewhere inside me. However, I must say that being flown around bases in a helicopter was much tougher than being flown in a jet fighter, which is what I had done some time ago during an air show in Hradec Králové. We flew with the door open, the helicopter kept jinking all the time, and I felt lack of oxygen, but I managed. The service in Afghanistan is nowhere near easy. The soldiers move in a not very pleasant environment with a lot of dust every day, not to speak of permanent danger. You had an opportunity to meet military chaplains from various countries while in Afghanistan. Was there something in their work that was of interest for you? The spiritual service they provide is ecumenical, just like in our army. All the chaplains

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Guest
a way enabling him to talk about fundamental issues of life, which is what his mission is about. When you became the Archbishop, some journalists mentioned you as a “friendly face for heathens”. Can you really be characterized as a person with an accommodating attitude toward atheists? My lifelong experience tells me an unbeliever really does not exist. Even atheism is a belief of sorts. A man believes that there is God, or that there is no God. I have certain logical reasons why I believe in God. If I discussed the belief in God with people who claim to be atheists, I am convinced we could find a number of common issues after just half an hour. If one says something has to exist, it does not mean one is an atheist. However, one also realizes that talking about God as a superman of sorts is comical. I also do not believe in a God like this. We talked about God with ex-President Václav Havel some time ago. He claims we can say “He exists”. But know that “something” is too little. It would be less than a man. God must be more than “something”, it must be a person, which leads us to a conclusion that God is difficult to define. We can see Him as the primary cause, supreme intelligence, supreme will, but we know we cannot visualize Him. The Bible even forbids us to do so. Tomáš Holub, ex-Chief Chaplain of our Armed Forces, used to say that all soldiers in trenches believe in God. Does it mean that men turn to God much more often in critical situations? When I last visited the Senate, its Vice Speaker Přemysl Sobotka told me he was an atheist. My driver claims that an atheist is a man over sixty who has never thought about saying a prayer, not even in a difficult life situation. When I told this to Mr. Sobotka, he just smiled and said: “You got me.” Being a surgeon, he knows all too well that a man in an extreme situation tends to think about who we are and where we are going, and this brings him to thinking about God as well. Early this year you attended an international conference of military chaplains held in Prague. How did ours compare to their foreign colleagues? I only attended the opening. However, I later talked to Tomáš Holub and it seems all had a good feeling that there was nothing to be ashamed of. Our military chaplains are perceived as capable partners by their counterparts from other countries. Military clerics help soldiers in missions irrespective of the nationality of the latter. What is the role of their regular annual meetings in this respect? The international aspect of the spiritual service is important, as it helps, inter alia, promote a better integration of our soldiers. If they attend a service held at a foreign unit, there is a greater feeling of solidarity and cohesiveness. And this is reflected in a stronger friendship of soldiers of the global community.
by Vladimír Marek photos by Jana Deckerová, Radek Hampl, Marie Křížová and Tomáš Otruba

Operations
The Czech Operational Liaison and Mentoring Team operating in demanding conditions in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan, helped save several lives

Mentors with finger on the trigger
From the end of the last year, a Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) have operated under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ladislav Švejda in the province of Wardak, Afghanistan. The Czech OMLT HQ is in the south of the region at Camp Carwile. In addition to that, there are Czech service personnel stationed at four combat outposts located in Seyed Abad and Yaghato districts.
Training of an Afghani battalion (kandak) took place at Camp Black Horse in Kabul and came into a head with final three-day capability evaluation. In December last year, the Czech OMLT along with five hundred Afghani soldiers and one-hundred and fifty vehicles moved to COP Carwile. The convoy covered a distance of one-hundred and twenty kilometres in a rough terrain within eight hours. Afghani soldiers rode open-top pick-up trucks standing behind machine guns. They also provided cover on the road from turrets on HMMWVs. On a cold December night, they proved a high morale, including more than one-hundred and thirty novices who had enlisted shortly before the movement. ”The Wardak province may boast wonderful scenery. Mountains reach as high as over five thousand metres above sea level. Chak and Yaghato districts are famous for agriculture and orcharding. Chak is particularly renowned for production of apples. Green zones are however not vast; and all the rest is covered in rocks and sand. We have not had an unsightly morning during our tour. We were welcome by the sun every time. The altitude is giving a hard time during operations, especially when we do patrols with full kit, tactical vest and loaded weapon,“ Major Robert Dziak explains. ”On the other hand though, Wardak permanently ranks among the five most dangerous provinces in Afghanistan. First, there is number of criminal groups operating here, who are solely after own profit. Then we have insurgencies operating here to counter coalition forces based on ideology and squads rebelling against any government authorities that could provide stability of the country. There are many charred wrecks along the road called Highway 1 as a result of operations by insurgencies and criminal groups.“

Started as engineers
The Czech OMLT comprises fifty-four personnel (over sixty per cent from the 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion) and is fully equipped and capable of operating autonomously. It also includes artillery and forward air controllers as well as some other specialists. The command

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and staff (16 personnel) supports and plans activities of five mentoring (training) teams. Four teams specialise in training Afghani forces in tactics and the fifth one is in charge of the weapons company. The organisational structure is complemented with a combat support group including a medical team head by a medical doctor. COP Carwile supports the operations by all units in southern Wardak. It was built as a combat outpost and is equipped and furnished in an accordingly stringent manner. There is no luxury there. ”Similarly as COP Jaghato, Carwile has several hardened structures, a couple of showers, mess-room in a tent-shelter and mobile toilets. No one does anything inessential here. The life for lads in combat outposts that are not called camps, but rather checkpoints, is even harder,“ Major Dziak describes. “Taking over the area of operations from the previous kandak, we identified there big shortcomings in security structures. In the first weeks upon our arrival, we therefore worked as a combat engineer unit, with excavators and wheeled loaders were our primary weapons here. We reinforced checkpoints, helped Afghanis introduce a security and defence system, and now we can fully devote ourselves to operating across the area of operations.“

Nine Trades

A mentoring type of mission requires a broad spectrum of knowledge. Mentors should be good teachers and psychologists, must be very very patient, indulgent and able to appreciate cultural differences. Mentors should be able to steer Afghanis into operating even at inconvenient times and follow procedures they may momentarily deem useless. Mentors must also be able to communicate with American pilots or artillery to provide security to his team and essential fire or medical support. “Interpreters dislike going to Wardak either. In addition, we may not afford hoards of translators; one must understand some expressions and formulate some sentences ourselves. We operate in a multilingual environment here. The kandak commander and locals speak are at least understand some Russian. It is no exception for you to speak two, three or even four languages on a single day,“ Major Dziak explains. ”You also encounter various approaches to mission planning. Afghani National Army, NATO and U.S. Army - they all follow different planning procedures. The OMLT is a joinder type of element that virtually enables interoperation of Afghani and Coalition forces in one area of operations.“ The mentoring teams operate on 24/7 basis. People in Afghanistan generally recognise

Friday as a free day, but oftentimes things take a completely different course. The Afghani zone at COP Carwile contains a mosque where worship services are held on Thursdays (Afghani Saturday) led by an Afghani National Army religious officer. However, patrolling connected with activities seeking to gather information and identifying the needs of local population are underway at COPs even at the time of worship. It is also critical to ensure backbone communication. There are often meetings with council of elders. ”If there is a problem, such as discovery of Improvised Explosive Device (IED), or shooting targeting the base, it is essential to solve the situation immediately,“ Lieutenant-Colonel Ladislav Švejda underscores. ”In addition, our forces are often involved in responding to road accidents. Doctor and medic managed to save several lives in such accidents.“ Czech OMLT members are resupplied by the U.S. logistic support system that is capable of delivering necessary amounts of food even to remote locations in Afghanistan. Mentors at checkpoint prepare food themselves using semiproducts with the whole team taking turns. If they happen to operate together with a U.S. platoon, they support each other. Czech troops are also frequently invited by Afghanis for dining. They are able to cook it in difficult conditions and it is

very tasty. Sometimes it is a problem to decently reject invitation to table.

Tea as a daily routine
The Afghani society, including the Army, is extensively affected by protracted warfighting and own past. In the Afghan National Army (ANA), there are former adversaries serving shoulder-to-shoulder. As a matter of fact, they are able to forget about the past that divided them and pull a single rope. Contrarily to Afghani National Police, ANA enjoys a considerable confidence of the public. “Cultural differences seemed to be one of the greatest challenges at the outset. We were reared differently, we could not understand, how important it is for Afghanis to drink tea together. They even have this activity included in their daily rosters. If there is a time of worship, it cannot be delayed, regardless of anything. After some time we spent together training and prepping for future operations, we managed to set up a system acceptable for both sides, which builds on mutual respect and common objectives,“ the team commander explains. ”I should admit Afghanis are good soldiers. They can stick to the plan, namely in patrolling and combat operations. Surprisingly for some, they show a good discipline and have a fairly

good endurance, which was particularly proven in joint foot patrols with Allies. They extremely value the knowledge that Czech instructors share. They are very competitive. During training sessions, we seek to maintain their attention by inventing various games. It is Comenius in practice.“ Perhaps one of the greatest challenges is to persuade Afghani officers to take part in training and operations together with their subordinates. That does not apply to junior commanders though, who lead their troops on patrols, in operations or redress potential tactical shortcomings in conjunction with the Czech mentors. It is probably a part of the heritage. Shooting training for instance must be performed separately – specially for troops and sergeants and separately for kandak officers. One of the combat outposts got attacked already in the first days of our operation in the Wardak province. Mentors had a hard time to steer eagerness of Afghani soldiers to answer fire in all directions, even across the camp. Another COP got shot at a week later and the Afghani unit shot sixteen hundred rounds while our team none. Afghani units have recently achieved a higher level of preparedness. Being on duty at checkpoints without mentors from time to time, they are able to organise defence, fire in the right direction and not spend too much ammunition.

Performing operational assignments in the Wardak province is a multinational affair. Besides Afghanis, Czech service personnel frequently cooperate with U.S. forces. In joint operations, they often act as a liaison element coordinating activities of all forces involved. A relationship has progressively developed between Czech mentors and Afghani soldiers. Initial three months they spent training together in Camp Black Horse at Kabul were critical for forming the relationship. During that preparation, the Czech servicemembers made use of unconventional methods and managed to win the heart of Afghanis including thanks to the good reputation the Czech Republic, or former Czechoslovakia, enjoys in the country. In the initial stage of joint training, they also closely worked with UK (especially the staff) and Romanian Armed Forces service personnel. Very good contacts have also been established with the Greek and particularly Spanish OMLT who shared valuable lessons they learnt training Afghanis.
by Vladimír Marek photos by Czech OMLT

Unconventional methods attractive

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Training
In the NATO Tiger Meet in Cambrai, France, the Czech Tigers also clashed on their opponents in aerial fights

Elite Tiger Air Manoeuvres
The final battle cry ”Tiger, Tiger, Tiger“ by Commander Escadron de Chasse 01.012. Lieutenant-Colonel Sébastien ”Dodi“ Vallete roars over Base aérienne 103 at Cambrai, France as two-week exercise (May 9-20th, 2011) of Tiger air units named Wild Hind 2011 ends. On Friday morning, representatives of eighteen squadrons from thirteen nations depart for their home bases.

Commander 211th Tactical Squadron Lieutenant-Colonel Jaroslav “Gyro“ Míka and First-Lieutenant Milan “Rimmer“ Nykodym

After seven months, the Tiger elite units associated in the NATO Tiger Association (NTA) again meets for this year’s largest Allied air exercise in Europe. The host role was assigned to the French Cambrésis squadron this time with Mirage 2000C/D aircraft in inventory. They have a rich experience with directing NATO Tiger

Meets. Specifically six-times, because NTM took place in Cambrai already in 1964, 1972, 1979, 1986, 1994 and 2003. The bitter fact is that this year’s Tiger Meet is the last major event both for the squadron and for the base. If there is no other solution, it will be inactivated in 2013. ”Despite this fact, it is great honour for us to

host NATO units year NTA’s fho ost N ATO tiger AT r un unit its in the the yea ear r of NTA N TA’s fif tieth anniversary,“ ”Dodi“ states. that tiet ti eth h an anni nive v rs sar ary, y,“ “ ”D ”Dod di“ s ta ate tes. Just t recall ll t hat the first meeting of NATO air units with tigers or another feline in their logo took place in 1961 at RAF Woodbridge and the then 79th Fighter Squadron was the host unit. Conversely in the last Tiger Meet, Tigers gathered at Vliegbasis Volkel in the Netherlands in October 2010. Operational deployments however prevented some full members of NATO Tiger Association in taking part, for example Belgian 31. Smaldeel, Dutch 313th Squadron, British 230th Squadron and Norwegian 338th Skvadron. In other words, there were apparently fewer F-16s and various rotary wing aircraft on the aprons as

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Training
opposed to previous years. Financial restrictions some NATO Air Forces took definitely played a part. That however had no major impact on opportunities for elite Tigers to again improve common operation procedures for planning and performance of air operations by NATO air forces on possible operational deployments. The more pleasing was the fact that Czech Tigers were present in these air manoeuvres, specifically the members of the 211th Tactical Squadron with four JAS-39C/D Gripen multirole fighters and representatives of the 221st helicopter squadron based at Sedlec, Vícenice u Náměště nad Oslavou with a pair of Mi-24/35 gunships. According to information available from the exercise operation center (NTM OPS), the Czech Air Force were involved on daily basis in the morning so-called Shadow Waves and afternoon COMAO (Composite Air Operations) efforts, as well as in Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. Their fixed-wing comradesin-arms were German Tornados, French Mirage, Polish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish F-16s, Swiss Hornets, Austrian Saabs, Slovak Fulcrums as well as Italian AB-212 helicopters of 21st Gruppo in Grazzanise. numbers of flight and technical personnel and hardware,“ 1LT Nykodym explains. The next stage may be referred to as hectic preparations. ”Pilots of the 211th Tactical Squadron primarily focused on beyond visual range tactics and activities by commander of fighter escort in Composite Air Operations COMAO,“ ”Rimmer” says. In a similar way, naturally with focus on the performance of their operational missions, helicopter guys from the Náměšť Air Force Base underwent their professional drill. Not less important part of the NTM is a demonstration of the tiger spirit and expression of worthiness in accompanying events. The first aspect is closely linked with the personnel’s tiger-like image and colour modifications on the aircraft. It is pleasing that Czechs also did not restrict their imagination in depicting tigers of various shapes and forms. The foursome of Gripens and the Hind with registration number 3361 attracted the eyes of passers-by and belonged to the most photographed machines. “It is quite difficult these days to come up with something new, something original. Over NTA’s fifty-year history, all ideas to depict tigers have indeed been used. Imitating is not in fashion here,“ Czech tigers say collectively and add with a slight sentiment that the essential fund is filled with money mostly from their own pockets. Boots, flight overalls and helmets of the 211th Squadron ground personnel also underwent remarkable ”tiger” tuning. Pessimistic visions do not apply in this case. Why? Demanding missions above are best compensated through collective glee on the ground. The international community’s cohesion builds both on traditional tiger rituals but especially on personal relations among members of NATO air units. And the omnipresent Tiger spirit is able to amalgamate them amply.

Deputy Cmmander 221st Helicopter Squadron, Major Pavel “Prochy“ Procházka

Nearly a Year of Preparations
It is difficult for ordinary people to appreciate how demanding the organisation of annual Tiger Meet is. Believe it or not, staging of the next NATO Tiger Meet starts a couple of hours after the current one ends. “The NTM 2011 initial planning conference took place already during the 2010 Tiger Meet in Volkel, where actually all NATO Tiger Squadrons representatives were in personal contact,“ First-Lieutenant Milan “Rimmer“ Nykodym, a JAS-39 Gripen pilot takes us into backstage of preparations and goes on to say that the host squadron then collects all requirements by involved units associated with both flight effort and logistic support via telephone and email. ”There was a three-day main planning conference in Cambrai that published a detailed exercise scenario, including

Blues v. Reds
It is just a couple of minutes before fourteen hours, with the foursome of Gripens taking their places on the ”grid” before the runway threshold. Pilots request the tower to clear them for entering the runway. A couple of seconds later, the first JAS-39 gets rolling with a deafening roar. It gains on speed and shortly lifts off two-eight. The scene repeats in fifteen second intervals. After take-off, the machines turn to bearing twoseven-zero and enter the departure corridor. The next phase is transition to the

flight level and inclusion into the air operational order of battle, where at every group of aircraft has a precisely defined role to play. In lay terms: Blues versus Reds. In expert terms: fighters clear the airspace from possible foes, by which they gain supremacy in the area of interest to allow strike aircraft flying on the follow-on wave to safely engage ground targets. Air clashes of large formations comprising various categories of aircraft (COMAO) last approximately thirty minutes and the number of actors joining the battle is around fifty. The remainder of the afternoon two-hour block is taken by transfers into zones located over the French and German territory this time. Morning missions are designed mostly for pilots in training. Their focus is one-on-one and two-versus-two dog-fighting that involves various types of NATO aircraft. It goes without saying that all flight activities are extensively reviewed in debriefings. All pilots and aircrews see a replay of how effective their operations were. Presentation of outcomes is a collective effort. The more pleasing it is to hear that a Gripen got a Hornet for example. “Exercise Wild Hind has moved us another step forward. Not only in flight training, because we operated comprehensively with other NATO squadrons in a real mission, but also in terms of getting to know each other. Personal contact in interpersonal relations is indeed irreplaceable. There is no STANAG for that. These ties positively reflect in the tactical flying itself,“ commander 211th Tactical Squadron Lieutenant-Colonel Jaroslav ”Gyro“ Míka states and flatly rejects opinions comparing NATO Tiger Meet to meetings of interest or hobby groups. ”It is an important NATO exercise with a unique social dimension,“ explains LTC Míka who led a twenty-four member group of Čáslav AFB Tigers and a flight of JAS-39 Gripen supersonics into Cambrai. ”Since we arrived Cambrai as the holders of the NTA’s most prestigious award, the Silver Tiger Trophy, we have been

at the centre of exercise participants’ attention. Our over-motivation showed in the beginning, but it got settled into a standard mode over time. We performed operational missions to required professional standards,“ “Gyro“ says and heads for a Swiss F-18D Hornet fighter to go for an hour’s flight. ”Mutual exchange of pilots in aircraft cockpits is extremely valuable. You find yourself embedded within another NATO unit and you get a first-hand experience of their specificities in preflight preparation and during operational missions. It is good that we honour this long-standing practice of NATO Tiger Meet as well,“ commander of 211th Tac Sqn relishes. Windows of silence separating take-offs can be used for short interviews with the members of technical personnel. ”Individual types of preparation do not differ from activities we normally perform at our home base. The only difference is that we have less people here, and so we have to be multifunctional. We took along the blocks that are most likely to subject to malfunction,“ says Captain Aleš Pokorný, commander of the technical flight the 211th Tactical Squadron. His words cannot be heard anymore. French Mirage fighters pass us by rolling. Another flight block gets ready to take off for an area of interest east to the airfield …

CSARing wounded pilot
After more than four hours of flight, with planned landing at Büchel, Germany, the Tigers from Náměšť AFB, who have been full NTA members for the tenth year already, landed at Base Aérienne in Cambrai. ”We devoted quite much time to comprehensive preparations for the exercise to be able to concentrate primarily on tactical aspects of flight operations,“ Deputy Commander 221st Helicopter Squadron Major Pavel “Prochy“ Procházka points out and specifies that the Náměšť AFB contingent comprises four helicopter captains, four pilots-operators, three flight engineers and seven ground specialists. “The fact that we are involved in flight waves encompassing all aspects of contemporary modern warfare is another valuable experience for all of us. There is more to that: work is done in a multinational environment which requires

effective harmonisation of compactness in planning and employment of all air assets into a single functional block,“ MAJ Procházka describes one of the benefits Exercise Wild Hind 2011 provides and concludes it is not exceptional for mission planning to exceed six hours while actual mission performance takes no more than ninety minutes. This time the operation to rescue pilots from hostile territory involves a pack of eight NATO aircraft comprising two Italian AB-212 helicopters, two Czech Hinds and two pairs of Portuguese and Greek F-16 fighters. Each flight component has its specific assignment. Following ATC orders, helicopter pilots start engines and taxi for the runway. Exactly at 13 hours 19 minutes both Mi-24/35 lift off and start in bearing two nine zero. The flight into a waiting area some sixty kilometres away takes less than twenty minutes.

Mi-24 Hind captains receive codeword from fighter pilots for the area of interest to have been cleared. A couple of minutes earlier, F-16 had eliminated an anti-aircraft gun battery with radar homing. The codeword prompt the Hinds to flying into the pick-up zone. The Czech gunships first perform monitoring of the area and then they call the Italian Bells into action to pick surviving pilots onboard. The rescued persons are onboard the AB-212 helicopters. Under the protection of F-16 fighters and escorted by Mi-24/35, they set off for their way back. The CSAR mission only lasted five minutes, but its value is immense.

by Pavel Lang photos by Radko Janata

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In the role of Combat Life Savers
A Czech convoy was returning to COP Soltan Kheyl after a weeklong wearisome patrolling. A fierce fire started somewhere at the front. An Afghani National Army unit got under fire on the road by insurgents firing 30 cal machine guns and AK-47 rifles.
An Afghani young man in grey-blue uniform lied on the ground and heavily bled from a gunshot injury. Still under fire, two Czech soldiers gave him first aid immediately. They fixed the tourniquet and tried to stop bleeding. One of the wounds however was so extensive that they had to keep their fingers on it throughout the transport. Otherwise he would bleed to death. Other personnel of the Czech contingent cleared the way in the meantime for the group to reach the aid station. Doctor and medic of the 1st Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) stabilised the patient and prepared him for transport by a helicopter into a field hospital. Though the soldier lost two litres of blood, he managed to survive thanks to an early help.

Forty casualties treated

Similar episodes were not exceptional at all during the eight-month tour the deployment served in Afghanistan. During that period, approximately forty Afghani soldiers were injured, some of them heavily, plus there were eight fatalities. The life of many Afghanis was saved from this destiny by the Czech unit’s doctor Lieutenant-Colonel Ivo Kašpárek and medic Warrant Officer Mojmír Zdráhal. ”We worked together with the doctor in very improvised conditions. We have two medical and life-saving kits available. In many instances, we provided first aid on the spot where soldiers had been injured or attacked. Upon stabilising basic life functions, we secured transport of the wounded by air MEDEVAC aircraft,“ WO Zdráhal describes his work. “In most cases, those were ballistic traumas; several soldiers hit improvised explosive devices. But we also had to deal with tragic road accidents involving fatalities. Both I and the doctor serve in military hospitals back in the Czech Republic, specifically in Prague and in Olomouc. It was a very good practical experience for us, as firearms injuries do not occur in the Czech environment that often.“ At the beginning of May earlier this year, 54 service personnel of the 1st deployment the Czech OMLT returned back to the Czech Republic upon completing their assignment. Most of them were members of the 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion in Chrudim. But the OMLT also included artillery fire controllers and forward air controllers, a doctor, medic and other specialists. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ladislav Švejda, they operated together with the soldiers of the 6th kandak Afghani National Army from September till December 2010 at Camp Black Horse nearby Kabul and then in the Wardak Province till the end of April 2011. The unit comprised the command and mentoring (training) teams. According to the Deputy Chief of General Staff Czech Armed Forces – Director of the MoD Joint Operations Centre Brigadier General Aleš Opata, specificity of this mission was that it focused on training the Afghani National Army, which is presently one of

The 1st Czech Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT) deployment returned from an eightmonth operational tour in Afghanistan

With emphasis on training

the top priorities ISAF forces have in Afghanistan. To what extent the job is done will show according LTC Švejda only at the end of the tour of 3rd OMLT deployment, when the ANA kandak is scheduled for validation. An HQ commission will decide whether the unit is qualified for operating autonomously.

Fragment in shin

Sergeant First Class Lukáš Zeman never got into a combat engagement during his eight-month tour in Afghanistan. “But I was on a convoy that got fired at. Fire was not directed at my vehicle, so it did not come to me to be that dramatic. One does not yield to the feeling of imminent

danger,“ SFC Lukáš Zeman says. ”I did suffer an injury during the tour though, but it was not in combat but during preparation. We performed training with the Afghani National Army and it included making a fire. I was just passing by as an explosion suddenly occurred and I felt something has bitten me in my shin. Only then we found out a fragment drilled into it. Afghanis perhaps by mistake got some munitions into the fire and one of the fragmentation stuff exploded.“ But Afghani soldiers were otherwise very diligent. One needed to align with their different cultural habits. It just required mutual understanding, respect and a great load of patience, not to yield to frustration that something does not go. ”When we told them for example to prepare fifteen men for a patrol, they chose completely at random fifteen soldiers who were at hand, equipped them with materiel erratically and off they went. We tried to explain they would be better off having elaborated a plan for such activity, have an understanding of how it will proceed and what they needed to take along with them to prevent lack of some type of materiel they would essentially need. But it was a big problem for them. Planning was completely Dutch for them,“ SFC Zeman explains.

Language barrier did not play as big role as it could have seem at the first sight. There were interpreters available, mostly from English to Pashto and Dari. Two of them were even able to translate directly from Czech. Many Afghani soldiers however spoke with Czechs using pretty good Russian. „One of the Afghani commanders was a graduate from Higher Officer Airborne School in Ryazan. He was an experienced soldier who had served in the Afghani Army already when there were Russians in this country. I spoke with him only in Russian, it was much more enjoyable and straightforward,“ LTC Švejda says. As a commander, he was apparently happy about bringing all his troops from this challenging mission back home without any harm. “If I did not believe that, I would not have come with them here in Wardak. When our soldiers got shot at, they reacted exactly as they were taught. If you are in distress, you proceed according to pre-trained drills. Your head will not let you anywhere else.“

by Vladimír Marek Photos by Vladimír Marek and 1st Czech OMLT

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Training
A combined convoy of Czech Kajman and U.S. Army Humwee vehicles departs the camp. We are passing a fictive Afghani landscape. In reality, more than one hundred and fifty service personnel of the 8th deployment the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) has been involved in Exercise Thorny Valley in the run-up to their operational tour in Afghanistan at a U.S. Army Base at Hohenfels in Bavaria.
According to the unit commander, such decision is exclusively up to the mobile observation team commander to take. Once the convoy leaves the base, the responsibility is solely up to him. The MOT commander decides to stop at the moment an object appears suspicious to him. His priorities include the provision of protection to his service personnel. Often the slightest trifle may have a good reason. Exercise Thorny Valley is also designed to help him strike the right balance of choice. commander of one of platoons comprising the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion. At JMRC Hohenfels for exercise Thorny Valley, he is however in command of a mobile observation team. He was has just recently promoted a commissioned officer. He joined the military eight years ago after serving with the Police of the Czech Republic. He earned his university degree through distance studies, and so he was promoted Lieutenant from the Warrant Officers’ corps. ”The whole situation is yet more complicated for me. We know each other very well with my subordinates. They will only respect me if I show natural authority. In this regard, I believe my situation is worse than if there was somebody coming from somewhere else as a ready-made commissioned officer,“ he explains and immediately joins negotiating with the Americans. They learn that the Czech soldiers escort civilian experts of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. There is construction underway of a medical center in Shan Kot that needs to be checked for the progress of work done. The American counterpart nods in agreement, but he cannot let the convoy go on into the housing area. A U.S. servicemember got lost, and they had been searching the place house by house. It will last at least till the evening. We are told to come tomorrow.

Enter the Stage Director
Lieutenant Pyszko requests at least passing the checkpoint towards the karez water system located a couple of kilometres behind the community. The experts are to perform the second part of their assignment there. The condition of the dams must be checked, as they represent in the arid and inhospitable Afghani environment one of the limited number of opportunities to secure sufficient amount of water including in hot summertime. The U.S. officer approves. Our convoy slowly passes by the checkpoint. The community perimeter is secured by Poles. They are now pushing the bar aside and wave hello to us. What was originally planned as a six-hour episode will now be much shorter. The inspection tour of medical

An American soldier missing
The skyline of minaret and houses imitating an Afghani community of Shan Kot suddenly loom in front of us. But our convoy does not arrive unnoticed. The right-hand side of the road teems with people. And it is not just them. Barrels of automatic weapons stick out of the shrubbery. Humvees leading the way pull up. Suddenly someone shouts with relief on the radio: “It is the Americans.“ And adds in a moment: “The want to negotiate something, the commander should come up here.“ Lieutenant Radim Pyszko is the

A Valley Too Thorny
“We chose the exercise name intentionally for the whole period of our predeployment preparation before serving the tour in Afghanistan. We wanted to mark that we would have to go through a truly thorny path. When this exercise ends, there will be a joint training of the whole provincial reconstruction team. All of that is going to come to a head in June in the Libavá Military Training Area that will be the venue to the final complex field training exercise and validation of mission readiness,“ commander of the 8th PRT deployment Lieutenant-Colonel Pavel Andráško explains. “The objective of this field exercise is primarily to improve coordination between the PRT staff and manoeuvre units. At the same time, we seek to check on preparedness of individual teams for majority of contingencies our soldiers may encounter in Afghanistan. The local international environment plays its role as well. We are going to be faced with such stuff in Afghanistan.“ previous rotations, we might be a bit unlucky in the sense that we are not going to be a part of that task force in Logar. TF Mustang is to operate in Nangarhar and Paktika provinces in Afghanistan. Our task now is to perform counterinsurgency operations together with Afghani National Security Forces in the province of Paktika to the effect of neutralising insurgency and help enhance competence, capacity and credibility of Afghani authorities and thereby increase the influence of official authorities of the Paktika province. The convoy moves at a walking pace. With their fingers on the trigger, soldiers aim to all sides and watch out for the least suspicious objects. ”A culvert on the left side one hundred fifty feet ahead!“ the radio crackles. The convoy halts, waiting until soldiers check a small bridge on the road, under which the irrigation system delivers water. This situation repeats at least five times over the next two kilometres. Finally we ride into a more open area, which perfectly resembles of an Iraqi highway including the exit. One of the soldiers runs out of patience. ”We are stopping on every detail; they should only alert to the truly serious objects. The risk that we get attacked while on the halt is much higher than we are going hit something.“

Led by Mustangs
Whilst in Hohenfels, the Czech 8th is embedded to the Task Force (TF) Mustang comprising mostly of U.S. Army 172nd Infantry Brigade personnel. Contrarily to some of the

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centre has been definitely postponed. Asked by the U.S. troops whether we would come to the community tomorrow, Lieutenant Pyszko only shrugs. It depends on tasking he would get from the PRT commander. Not a single soldier on the exercise has a clue what the moments to come will hold for them. Everything is as real as it possibly gets – that is the greatest benefit of the local training system. ”In case the exercise director wants to gain some time, for individual episodes to match better, he is able to adjust the course of training this way. He only needs to instruct the governor on the radio to protract the negotiation as long as he possibly can,“ Warrant Officer Pavel Bodrogi explains. ”People hired by the JMRC are able to play their roles with high fidelity. They are mostly individuals with perfect familiarity of Moslem environment and able to create the atmosphere of an Afghani community. They played for instance that our interpreter was shot dead and we had to cope. But we were also able to practice controlling artillery fire and recovering persons from beneath an overturned car.“ Underground tunnels, which are increasingly found in Afghanistan, were also built at JMRC Hohenfels. The tactics used in the tunnels is completely different to what soldiers have been used to. So, they have opportunity to practice how to penetrate the underground system and how to move inside. Whether to light it with flashlights, or use night vision goggles. They would find only here what they need for such tactics and add equipment to their kits accordingly.

Checking water dams
Water dams are just within a kilometre’s distance from the community. The Americans took an incredible care to build real dams there. Humvees depart to all sides for soldiers to best secure the perimeter. ”One vehicle must go up to that ridge. We must definitely have visibility over the horizon to prevent surprise attacks from that side,“ one of the soldiers points at forested hill closing the valley. Everything is now up to two Czech members of the civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) and a civilian expert, played by a U.S. servicemember in this case. The threesome equipped with a camera, tape, plans and notebook walk on the dam. They take notes, measurements, photos, but mostly they intensively discuss some details. It looks at the first sight as if they were checking real-world karez system in some faraway location in Afghanistan. One of those providing security to the experts at the moment is Sergeant First Class Oldřich Sieklik, who has been through a three-month U.S. Marine Corps course. He was able to practice shooting all available infantry weapons and controlling artillery fire during the course. In the U.S., they ran loaded all the time. They got up at five in the morning and orbited the base until nine o’clock. But it was no sporting. All of those trainings were in battledress, heavy ballistic vests and full tactical gear. Tuesdays were dedicated to muscular strength, Wednesdays were special trainings and obstacle courses, Thursdays included instructors’ specialties and Fridays focused on medical evacuation from the battlefield. Trainees mostly circled around

The Field Surgical Team commenced the series of deployments of Czech military doctors and medics in the French Hospital at the Kabul International Airport

Together in Afghanistan
the base doing casualty drag with a guy on stretchers. They sat each day from nine to seventeen hundred hours in the classroom and received a huge amount of information. “Training here at Hohenfels focuses on drilling standard things, we keep repeating what we have learnt. It is nothing new, but you have to get it under your skin. Perhaps the most interesting was the lesson we had on new ways of planting Improvised Explosive Devices,“ SFC Oldřich Sieklik says. ”The strength Americans have is that they have much more money, including for training. Given the locations they operated in previously, they also have a tremendous body of experience. And they can sell it better than we can do. They are able to deliver all of it in briefings nicely. But I am confident the Czech Armed Forces is able to work its own lessons better.“ Even the way back to the camp does not do without constant halting to check suspicious objects. None of the Czech troops knows whether the exercise director still has something at hand for them. There are talks that opposing forces might attack the convoy on their way back. That does not eventually happen. We are arriving at the base without slightest harm. Now it is essential to maintain weapons, hardware and recuperate. But the Mobile Observation Team will be having the most important session on the next day. They will review and assess performance by every individual during the patrol step by step. People learn best from own mistakes.
by Vladimír Marek

On the seventh day of February 2011, a premiere deployment started for the Field Surgical Team of the Medical Service of the Armed Force of the Czech Republic in the French military hospital stationed at the Kabul International Airport (KAIA). Four months on, they will be relieved by another Czech tenmember group of doctors and medical personnel. The relay is planned to be passed on six times till January 2013.
French military hospital under command of Colonel Bernard Guennoc is able to provide specialised surgical treatment at Role 3 level. It is stationed in the northern part of the Kabul international Airport (KAIA-North), close to the location where the Czech Armed Forces field hospital (Role 2E) operated in 2007-08. The spectrum of local patients is quite wide. The responsibility of the Czech Armed Forces Field Surgical Team primarily includes ISAF service personnel deployed for operations in the Regional Command Capital – RC(C) territory. Medical support is also provided to the members of the Afghani National Army and the FST also provides treatment to locals. The Czech team comprises three doctors (surgeon and the commander of the 1st FST, Lieutenant-Colonel M.D. Martin Oberreiter, traumatologist Lieutenant-Colonel M.D. Ivo Žvák and anaesthetist Major M.D. Lukáš Balcárek), and six medics serving at operating rooms, intensive care unit and emergency wards (perioperative

nurses LT Jana Mašková and WO Hana Dušková, pre-hospital urgent care nurses WO Lenka Panchártková and WO Jitka Dušková and at the emergency, MEDIC 1 and 3 duty, WO Martin Studecký and WO Jan Barimov). Not less important member of the Czech medical team is the liaison and operation officer, Captain Vlastimil Schlinger, who works at the French military hospital’s operations centre (MEDOPS) and is involved in coordinating acceptance of casualties. In case needed, he also works with doctors stationed at Camp Shank, Sharana and Wardak on organising medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) from areas of operations, both into specialised medical facilities in Afghanistan (TACEVAC) and national (home) hospitals (STRATEVAC).

An operation a day
They very first hours they spent at KAIA-North showed that a premiere embedding of Czech military doctors in the French field hospital will not bear the hallmark of ordinary augmentation, but an erudite teamwork. FST members are no

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novices in battlefield medicine and they have proven their professional skills for the French personnel, enhanced by experience they gained in previous operations. “Although we officially started operational assignment on February 7th, already two days from our arrival to Kabul, on February 5th, the French requested our presence in the operating rooms,“ LTC Oberreiter recalls the kick-start they had and specifies he personally attended treatment of two patients with so-called double cavity ballistic trauma, which encompasses simultaneous injuries in abdominal and thoracic cavity. A good start by Czechs spawned respect. “Initial distrust by the French and their tending to have oversight soon withered away and cooperation turned into an equal colleague-like and even friendly relationship. They soon realised that we had experience with receiving and operating patients with polytrauma,“ that they operated around thirty patients in full anaesthesia mostly with combat wounds over first three weeks. The remainder of operations accounted for common injuries and sudden abdominal strokes (such as appendicitis, perforation of duodenal ulcer or ileus). ”There were days with up to four operations a day,“ says the military surgeon, who was decorated with the Defence Cross of Merit, 3rd Class, in 2008, for his contribution to saving the life of a Norwegian diplomat in a foreign operations. He elaborates that they most frequently receive patients with combat wounds including ballistic traumas caused by projectiles fired from AK-47 and fragment wounds, plus brain injuries. Lieutenant-Colonel Oberreiter regards the most complex operations they have performed so far those involving several organs in thoracic and abdominal cavity as the same time, injuries of main arteries in the neck or heavy injuries of the crus. Apart from operations at operating rooms, doctors serve standby and consultation duty shifts every other day. It goes without saying that they also do the morning rounds at standard wards and at the intensive care unit. They have a specialist consulting session once to three times a week. Except for acute cases, the operating program normally starts at eight o’clock in the morning. Nurses are likewise not exempt from twelve or twenty-four hour shifts at the wards. Apart from that, they are assigned to standby duties for MASCAL (Mass Casualties) alert. Calling both live and practice MASCAL is not exceptional here. ”Originally we were supposed, at least at operating rooms, to work in a single team, but the practice showed there was need to reorganise, and so we now take turns in serving shifts with the French. Our medics mostly work in international teams,“ LTC Oberreiter says and underlines that doctors would do nothing without medics and nurses, same as medics could not work without perfect organisation of casualty transport. Material, equipment and instrumentation is only specified for emergency operations, and is very similar in this respect to the trauma center at the University Hospital of Hradec Králové or at the Central Military Hospital Prague. “We are lacking some specialised branches here, such as maxillofacial surgeon, and namely the

possibility to perform laparoscopic operations that are the domain of planned surgery. In addition, the hospital does not have a radiology specialist. That entails increased demands for surgeons who need to read X-Ray and CT scans themselves. Their knowledge of the rudiments of arterial surgery is also essential,“ LTC Oberreiter adds. Same as himself, other members of the 1st FST enjoy their cooperation with their French colleagues. “I would say we got well on terms with each other and it works fine for us together. We recognise our professional qualities and we have a very similar sense of humour. We do our best to perform our operational assignment with honour,“ the Commander of the Czech team states.

Quality of the Czech field medicine
One does not have to be an insider to realise that a successful accomplishment of several month’s mission at the military hospital at KAIA would not be possible without adequate professional training back at home. There are several institutions and systems involved. One element is the Battlefield Surgery Department at the Faculty of Military Medical Sciences of the University of Defence. It is no secret that Hradec Králové Faculty has recently assumed a prominent position in preparation of military medical specialist for foreign deployed operations, previously in countries of the former

Yugoslavia, in Albania, Iraq and more recently in Afghanistan. “Battlefield surgery is a specific add-on module to what is approximately six-year specialist training of surgeons, which prepares individuals for operations in crisis areas. In practice, future surgeons attend a series of focused courses and lectures that our department provides as part of its educational program. The curriculum reflects current knowledge, but is also based on experience gained on foreign deployments from Czech professionals, and indeed from our NATO partners,“ retired Brigadier Leo Klein, the Head of the Battlefield Surgery Department, specifies and points out the biggest stumbling block for military doctors assigned to foreign operations: “Their feeling that as opposed to the stony hospital they have neither all the support background nor other specialists within reach. We therefore focus on building with them a necessary portion of self-confidence and self-reliance based on their knowledge and skills acquired as a part of training. BG Klein rejects there would be a world of difference between operating in war zones and everyday practice in domestic environment. “Let me give you a practical example. The most effective preparation for traumatology related branches that are closest to battlefield surgery in addition to that are the shifts military surgeons serve at trauma centers. There, they are confronted on daily basis with patients after road accidents or heavy injuries with nearly analogous situations that they would encounter

in Afghanistan for instance. Though it is not the case of legshots or fragmentation wounds, treatment procedures at emergency wards are universal and standardised. I say again it is not completely identical, but vey similar activity. I mean we know exactly what the Field Surgical Team personnel are going to be up to in Kabul and we can therefore focus their preparation accordingly. I personally do not recall a situation that would take them completely aback there.“ BG Klein regards the Czech involvement in the French military hospital not only an ideal investment into further professional development of military medical doctors and medics, but also as a confirmation of the quality of military battlefield medicine. “Czech doctors and medics have enjoyed a high credit in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on sustained basis. Why? The cornerstone is a six-year specialist preparation at the military school, where future doctors acquire professional skills from the very beginning of their careers. As time progresses, experience builds as well as the art of being able to improvise in any circumstances. Eventually, they are able to apply the knowledge of medicine in specific conditions,“ argues the respected medical doctor, who has served, inter alia, in 1999-2002 as the Chief Medical Officer at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium.
by Pavel Lang Photos by CZE 1st Field Surgical Team

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PIRATES
did not play a role. Conversely, I rather think they were a bit surprised by my knowledge and the interest I take in the history of British Royal Navy. That is what helped us to win hearts over, at least with Brits,“ Lieutenant-Colonel Podoba recalls. ”Everything builds on personal qualities at command headquarters of that kind. Either you are good and can do the job or you cannot. Naval operations support procedures in my specialty do not differ that much from those used for land operations. In addition, we were able to apply lessons learnt in previous foreign operations and start tours at international headquarters. After six months, we were so deep in the subject that we became valuable members of the whole headquarters. That was what our colleagues confirmed to us when we made our farewell.“ Since government is virtually non-existent, piracy ranks among the most lucrative sectors in Somalia. Not only top bosses running maritime robbery live in luxury. A pirate group usually comprises three boats. The largest one, so-called whaler, carries barrels with water and fuel, food and naturally weapons and munitions, and serves as a floating logistic base for the assault teams. They start forward on the smaller fastboats when a random target in the form of a merchant ship shows up. In addition to armed crew, there is a man at the bow, whose task is to hook up a ladder up to fifteen metres long at the edge of the assaulted ship’s board. If attack attempt fails, there are other ones to follow as long as they succeed or the merchant ship manages to escape or call help. Sailors on merchant ships naturally seek to defend themselves against such attacks using all means available. Forming convoys is the safest way. Convoys are organised by countries such as Russia, China and South Korea. Merchant ships of those countries transit the security corridor escorted by military vessels. Another option is the so-called group transits as part of Operation Atalanta. Armed escort is also provided to ships carrying a high number of passengers or hazardous cargo. In case the sailors are on the high seas, they usually manage to identify pirate attacks early. But options they have to defend themselves are limited. According to international maritime law, there may be no arms onboard merchant vessels. When targeted, they try to manoeuvre and pick up maximum speed.

from the Horn of Africa
The big clumsy ship reminded most of a lazy carp in a properly muddy pond. Two slim fastboats approaching her from different angles rather resembled of pikes. Somali men onboard were holding weapons in their hands. At that instance, they sought to get as close to the vessel as possible, grapple a long ladder with hooks on the edge and climb onboard.
Thanks to advanced technology, the dramatic duel taking place off the coast of Africa was watched live thousands kilometres away at the international Headquarters EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in Northwood, UK, as well as the service personnel of European states’ Armed Forces. Along with the NATO Maritime Component Command (MCC Northwood) team they were doing their best for ”lazy carp“ to win the duel contrarily to all expectations. They were assisted in that endeavour by a dozen of navy ships patrolling the incident area. Although it might be unusual for a landlocked country, those personnel have included three Czechs since January 2010. First Lieutenant Lubomír Volný served in the MSCHOA (Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa) and his responsibilities included registering and monitoring of ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. Lieutenant-Colonel David Peter served as an accountant officer at Operation Atlanta Budfin Branch. He was responsible for payments from the European Union budget. The Czech contingent commander and the Czech national representative in the operation Lieutenant-Colonel Jozef Podoba served as an analyst and for the first four months also as Deputy Chief of Intelligence Branch.

Knowledge of history winning hearts

Atalanta is the very first operation of the European Union naval forces with the mission to provide security primarily to vessels operated as part of the World Food Programme to ship food and aid deliveries to the displaced persons in Somalia. The mandate provides for repressing piracy and armed robbery off the coats of Somalia. The presence of navy vessels also represents a deterrent. Involving twenty-six states at the moment, the operation is performed under command of British Major-General Buster Howes. If there is a pirate incident response operation, it is commanded by a Rear Admiral onboard the flagship cruising the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. For Operation Atalanta, the EU NAVFOR forces use a base located at Djibouti for logistic support. It is in the local seaport where individual vessels refuel, replenish water, food and other materiel. “When we came to the Northwood HQ in January last year, it aroused some attention and the Czech Republic’s involvement in the operation was widely covered by the media. That fact that we have no sea access and no military navy

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Boards of ships high above the water surface are naturally less prone to attacks. Pirates have hard times getting onboard, plus the crews set up various barriers using concertina and barrels to make boarding as difficult as possible. Another quite frequented option is deterrence. There are mock-ups of soldiers onboard bent behind fictive machine guns.

Meeting with the President

Calming down a captain
”One of the strongest experiences I had was that a merchant ship urgently requesting help called me up in the middle of a night shift I served shortly after we started our tour. Its engines went out of order and it remained in an area with a truly high threat of pirate attack. The captain’s voice was full of worry,“ First-Lieutenant Volný describes. “I tried both to calm them down and inform that we were sending help to them.“ In case modern pirates do succeed in taking the ship and secure the crew, they mostly rob all valuables in most instances. But the greatest hostages and cargo onboard ships represent the greatest possible income for them. They are not alone in negotiating the amount of ransom money. Somali emigrant communities in various parts of the world provide negotiators, interpreters and mediators. Ransom money ranges from hundred thousands to millions U.S. dollars. Over thirty million were paid in 2008 alone. Pirates normally require the package with money to be air-dropped into the sea in an area they specify. Another possibility involves an attack by a special commando team with mission to free hostages. That was also the course of action taken at the end of January earlier this year when Sambo Jewelry was kidnapped. A special unit comprising commandos and underwater demolition squad mounted a combined assault operation against the pirates, using a helicopter in addition to assault boats. Shortly before sunrise, soldiers made use of the moment of surprise and got onboard both from the sea and from the air. Out of thirteen pirates, eight were killed in the ensuing battle and the others were captured. All of twenty-one members of crew were freed, only the captain suffered an injury by the kidnappers during the operation. In case soldiers spot boats with crew suspect of the act of piracy or armed robbery during regular patrolling, they first require the boats to halt immediately. If there is no response, the pressure escalates. Warning shots before the suspect boat may be fired. At the moment they apprehend them and the suspicion of the act of piracy is confirmed, the crew are transferred onboard the navy vessel and boats destroyed with gunfire. A twenty-four hour period starts for holding the suspects in custody, before the attorney issues a warrant. But piracy is hard to evidence, naturally unless suspects are apprehended directly on kidnapped ship or in territorial waters of given state. They normally pretend to be after fishing. They may also make money trafficking displaced persons from Somali territory and attack random targets on their way back.

factsheet
„ Operation Atalanta is the European Union’s first naval operation (EU NAVFOR). It was launched 8 December 2008 in support of UN Security Council Resolutions 1814, 1816, 1838, 1846 and in line with the European Security and Defence Policy. Its mandate was extended till the end of 2012. „ The mission is to protect vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, protect vulnerable vessels cruising off the Somali coast, and deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, plus monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia. „ Twenty-six states are presently involved in the operation on permanent basis. Thirteen EU Member States participate directly, while other nine have sent their service personnel for staff tours in HQ EU NAVFOR Northwood, plus there are members of four non-EU members participating in the operation. „ The common funding for the operation amounted to EUR 8.4 million for 2010 and EUR 7.8 million for 2011. „ Including land-based personnel, EU NAVFOR consists of a total of around 2,000 military personnel. „ The operational zone covers an area of 4,000,000 square kilometres (equivalent to 30 times England or 10 times Germany).

Czech soldiers in Northwood were involved not only in the operation, but they also represented the Czech Republic. “In the absence of the branch head, I presented regular briefings to two Rear Admirals (Commander and Deputy Commander Operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta) on the situation at sea in the area of operations. I was one of a few to brief on four robbed ships over a single weekend. In case of any incident, we continuously updated Commander EU NAVFOR on current developments. It was a huge experience for me to communicate on such level and also a great challenge to steer a branch whose members were mostly experienced sailors. Given the size of the area of operations, intelligence and aerial sensors are critical for the operation,“ Lieutenant-Colonel Jozef Podoba explains. ”Perhaps the strongest experience was my assignment on the OHQ delegation to meet with the President of Somalia and his Ministers in Northwood. The discussions involved the mission and tasks of the operation, roots of piracy and the situation in the territory of Somalia. In the United Kingdom, traditions are very much observed, so we had to keep all the protocol rules for instance.“

The three Czech servicemen returned to the Czech Republic after a six-month tour. Already the third rotation was sent to Northwood in January earlier this year. It has become clear at this time that the Czech Republic will participate in Operation Atalanta at least till the end of 2012, as piracy attacks continue. Potential prey is too attractive. There is a strategic maritime route leading through the Gulf of Aden, which carries up to ninety-five per cent of European Union’s shipping in terms of volume and twenty percent of global trade. “Pirates have changed their tactics based on our pressure. They stand off routes patrolled by EU NAVFOR warships and are therefore forced to operate in faraway areas. Despite it represents a considerable risk for them given the size of their boats, they cruise deep into the Indian Ocean,“ Senior Warrant Officer Volný concludes. “It is very demanding to maintain control over so vast waters. One of the options of the future is that there would NATO or EU military personnel onboard merchant vessels, or PMC security contractors.“
by Vladimír Marek photos by Lubomír Volný

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A demanding screening process selects Commando course trainees

In Search of a Universal Soldier
The soldiers at the edge of the forest were pulling at big clumps of dried grass and stuffing them under their combat jackets and load-bearing webbing. The instructors standing nearby were watching them closely, making notes and jotting down evaluation marks. The Military Training Area Březina, off Vyškov, was the scene of a week-long selection process designed to select the most suitable candidates for the Commando course.
The Commando training course of the Czech Armed Forces has been around since 2005. It is a brainchild of Aleš Opata, then commander of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, who was inspired by the tradition introduced by Josef Černota and other graduates of special warfare courses in Great Britain in 1947, at the time the Czechoslovak airborne forces were being formed. What was initially just a brigade-level event has gradually developed into a major army-wide training programme. Since last year, the certified course has been organized by the Training Command – Military Academy in Vyškov. There are two training courses a year. “The selection process is designed to choose 36 best candidates from a fairly broad range of applicants; the former will take part in the April Commando course. We are looking for soldiers who can be reasonably assumed to pass the prestigious course and whom we will be able to turn into topnotch team leaders and platoon commanders,” explains Major Hynek Pavlačka, the officer in charge of the course. “Besides not being exactly cheap, the Commando course is also demanding in terms of the support and instructor manhours it requires. Investing into people who are not prepared to pass would be a waste of money and assets.” Earlier this year, 110 course applications were received. However, in a few weeks’ time some of them dropped out for various reasons, so the initial roll-call in Vyškov saw only 73 candidates.

The test of abilities, which will take several days and eliminate every other candidate, was opened by a psycho-diagnostic examination. It focused not just on the motivation of the candidates, but also on their ability to respond to various stimuli and on their mental capacities. Results of the entry test were subsequently compared against test results obtained after the most demanding, high-stress course segments taking place at night and involving lack of food and sleep deprivation. “We want to find out how soldiers react to stress and whether and how they are able to make decisions in such situations. We can also identify any potential change of their abilities. However, the course is not primarily focused on physical strain or drill. The primary purpose is to establish what kind of abilities and skills each of the candidates can offer before the course starts,” says Major Pavlačka.

Breaking the Outline
The soldiers finished their camouflaging. They received an order for a forced march, which was

supposed to test whether they had attached their gear properly so that nothing would fall off. The instructors were happy not to hear any tinkling sounds that could be a giveaway during the march. However, the rustling of the dry grass they had used to camouflage themselves was heard all the more. “You place all camouflaging elements too high. This is wrong. Rather than breaking your outline, the camouflage makes you look bigger. You should also have access to your magazines, water bottles and other useful things. The biggest mistake some of you have made is that the camouflage prevents you to get your weapon. You should also bear in mind that you will usually lie down or crawl when out in the field. This means you do not have to pay that much attention to camouflaging the front part of your body; you must concentrate on your head and shoulders,” explained WO Vladimír Zahrádka, one of the instructors. “It is obvious our military is not paying enough attention to individual camouflage. The time we often spend over bureaucratic red tape should be devoted to these things. Soldiers lack even elementary

camouflaging knowledge, they do not know to break the outline or face shape, or how to do this using materials that are around us.” The selection process itself is focused on testing the candidates’ knowledge of tactics, marksmanship, communications, topography and basic medicine. For example, the candidates must prove their prowess with a map, ability of orientation in the field, ability to operate the RF13 radio transceiver or use the submachine gun, machine gun, RPG-75 anti-tank disposable manportable weapon, ability to provide first aid or to handle transport of a casualty. It also comprises a physical test which is, however, more difficult than the standard test all soldiers must pass every year. It consists of a march to a distance of up to 8 kilometres within a set time limit, which the candidates must cover with full equipment, i.e. with weapon, helmet and full gear, followed by pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups and topped up by a combat obstacle course. “The whole process gives us a clear idea of how a particular candidate is prepared for the course in physical terms. However, one must

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bear in mind that physical condition is just one of the selection criteria which will decide whether the candidate will qualify,” elaborates Hynek Pavlačka. “The candidate may be eliminated because his professional skills and abilities are not good enough, or because of unsatisfactory results of the psycho-diagnostic examination. We are looking for people who will be very good to excellent in all fields. It is not a narrowfocused superman that we are after.”

but he knows what he is talking about, and this is why he lectures. The trainees find out very soon there is something they can learn from him and try to make the maximum possible use of the opportunity.”

Officers Not Taught to Command
There are several officers, and even a lady, among the applicants. However, the experience with officers in Vyškov has not recently been too good. Major Pavlačka claims it is most unfortunate to see a lieutenant who drops out after two or three cold and rainy days in the field, explaining that he did not study the university to crawl in the mud. He adds that the Commando course should be mandatory, at least for students of management and command. “I would like to know the percentage of young lieutenants assigned to units, who do not know how to command. They are simply not taught how. The university trains them to use the computer and how to become a universal manager of sorts. However, they lack practical skills which, for example, a platoon commander cannot do without,” emphasizes Hynek Pavlačka. “We used to have university programme concentrating on command skills, which was working well for years. However, someone decided otherwise back in 2002, and the command-oriented system was abandoned. It was a big mistake, because military matters should be decided by soldiers. All of a sudden, we have to think how to make things that worked without any problems in the past work again. Our course teaches soldiers to command the lowest-level units. It can also clearly show whether a particular trainee possesses any command skills at all. The military profession does not have any deep philosophical background; in most cases, it is about practical skills and how to apply them.” The Commando training course should not be viewed as a rally of outdoor enthusiasts with a masochistic streak. It should gradually find a firm position in the army training system, including the selection process that precedes it. “It would be ideal if it were a professional requirement of career advancement. Let’s say, you are

Selecting the Best Instructors
Members of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade continue to prevail among the instructors. Naturally, it is not easy to talk unit commanders into providing their best people for the course. The main problem is that the selection process takes a week and the course proper a month. However, it should be noted that the work of instructors in Vyškov benefits their own battalions as well. It is up to them how much progress the trainees, including their own people, will make. Vyškov offers an ideal training environment. The Commando course makes use of the MILES simulation system, helicopters and a number of unique training devices. Training-wise, the soldiers proceed to an entirely new qualitative level. When the Training Command – Military Academy was taking over the Commando course from the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, Major Pavlačka personally promised to Colonel Procházka that he would maintain its quality and tough nature even after its transfer to Vyškov. “I believe it is very fortunate I have taken over the instructors lecturing at the last course together with the course itself. As long as I am the officer in charge, I will insist on the best available instructors from units. This does not mean we do not have our own; we have so far been successful in educating them and integrating them in the process. Universities have good lecturers too, but still try to involve the best externs from practice in the education process. It is a fact that instructors from the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade have ample combat experience and the latest know-how,” MAJ Pavlačka adds. “Moreover, they have informal authority among soldiers. It is not like what we are often accustomed to elsewhere, i.e. I am a major and everyone will obey me. The instructor may be a corporal,

a team leader, you know your job, but there is one thing missing – you have to pass the Commando course,” says Captain Pavel Kočvara. “We want our army to have team leaders who possess certain capabilities. And we focus on testing such team leaders. In addition to skills and abilities, they must also show appropriate physical and mental sturdiness.” Some time ago, Brigadier Aleš Opata came up with an idea to establish a centre in Vyškov, which would not only train soldiers in Commando courses, but also deal with the latest trends with respect to the conduct of warfare in operations abroad. It would assemble instructors capable of training soldiers in new skills not included in our combined tactics before they depart for a mission. “The Czech Armed Forces has such experts, but they are unfortunately scattered among different units. We have people who have firsthand experience of what running over a mine or an IED amounts to, who can manage combat,” says Major Pavlačka. “Moreover, they can share their experience with others, which is priceless. You can read hundreds of books, but

you cannot explain issues described there as well as a guy with real experience.”

Evaluating Anonymous Numbers
A training lesson the subject matter of which is to provide first aid to an injured fellow soldier is coming to its end in one of the building of the log cabin camp. One of the soldiers providing the treatment asks whether he can put his weapon aside. The instructors immediately mark it as a vital mistake. The soldier must have his weapon with him at all times, no matter whether he has been wounded or whether he is presently tending to someone else. Even a wounded soldier must keep on fighting, provided of course that he can. Only when the group extricates itself from the grip of the enemy, it is possible to lay a smoke screen and help the wounded. The Commando course candidates move to the combat track. Awaiting them is a series of various obstacles built over a distance of several kilometres. “I was curious what the course

amounts to, so I sent an application,” explains Private First Class David Hušek of the 42nd Mechanized Battalion stationed in Tábor. “I don’t think we are doing something essentially new here. I don’t think this is the purpose of the selection process. It is rather a refreshment of the things I have already forgotten. There are people from various branches. This is also an advantage, as we learn from one another. But I have no clue whatsoever how I have fared so far. It remains to be seen whether I will qualify or not.” Each of the candidates first received a white helmet cover with a number. The number replaces his or her name. From now on, all candidates are anonymous. They receive points for each discipline from the instructors. However, they learn their interim scores only at the end of the day. The successful candidates are selected by a commission consisting of the officer in charge, instructors and psychologists. Using a mathematical formula, these twenty people choose the ones who have qualified. “We can know the people’s faces, but it is good for nothing. The points are assigned to

numbers. Personally, I would divide the unsuccessful candidates into two groups. Those in the first one heave a sigh of relief; as a rule, they were nominated by their COs. They simply say to themselves – it is good it has turned out this way, I am lucky not to have qualified. I would have had to work on myself throughout April!” describes Hynek Pavlačka. “The other group consists of real soldiers. Their way of thinking is as follows: OK, now I know what the selection process is like. I admit I have not prepared myself as I should. I will put in more effort next year and I will qualify! These are the people I admire most.” Between April 4 and 29, 2011, the 36 best candidates resulting from the winter selection process will compete for a narrow green strip bearing the “Commando” inscription. Only a few soldiers ranking among the best in our army have so far earned the right to sew it on their uniforms.
by Vladimír Marek

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One of the Principal Pillars
Our convoy negotiates the steep mountain climb only thanks to the switchbacks. Somewhere at the very top is the Tera Pass that divides Logar from the Paktia province. There is a small fort at the edge of the pass and a Police Station bearing the same name circumvallated with a high wall of stone. And that is exactly what we have been heading for.

The afghani police station is quite surprised with an unexpected visit. But they recollect fast and invite us inside their premises. It is a standard building comprising several rooms designed not only for guarding, but also for relaxation and for cooking meals. The terrace on level roof enables observation as well as defence if needed. There is also a water reservoir with piping to the rooms below and two light machine guns in the corners. ”The Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team invested its funds particularly into these police stations along the Utah Road that Turks built a couple of years ago. We improved the station´s security and equipped them with infrastructure. Now we are out to check how these assets are used. It is our first activity with focus on security. This is where we closely cooperate with the civilian component of the PRT,“ CIMIC personnel explain. In the meantime, we hand out a magazine published by the ISAF high command for the local population. It contains information about reconstruction projects and other activities by the Allies as well as useful advice relating to hygiene

and health. We inquire about any requirements the police may have towards us. They point to the top of the stone wall with embedded holders for concertina wire. It is an important security element, but nobody has delivered it so far. The Czech troops promise to check on it and get it done. There were several attacks targeting the base in the past, but recently it has been calm around here. A high range reaching over three thousands metres above sea level rises on the south side. It seems to us an ideal place for hostile snipers. The station commander disagrees though. No harm to them can come from there. Access to that peak is protected by the neighbouring station, which is however in the Paktia province already. One of the local policemen was shot dead by insurgents in the Logar province yesterday. Such new are much too frequent these days. Afghani National Police (ANP) personnel are commonly subject to threats and blackmailing, which results in a high desert percentage. To be a policeman is a relatively well paid job in the local circumstances. They get around three hundred

dollars a month, which is above average. The problem is that it is a high-threat profession. Short and insufficient training makes its mark too. Graduates´ illiteracy also plays its role. If there are ten people able to read and write on the course, then it is a good number.

Inoperational Generator
In the back at the wall, we are finding a damaged wind generator that the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team delivered here a time before. It is the only power source for the whole station. Asking why they have not requested it to be repaired, they just shrug. We are encountering similar disinterest in other stations as well. At Altimor, everybody grumbles their comms is inoperational, but it just takes recharging batteries. ”Evyerthing goes down to their mentality: they are not used to be overly active. They show passivity a lot. If they are given something, they enjoy and take it as a present. But that is just for some time,“ one of the soldiers explains. ”I did not get many positive impressions during our visit. I have a feeling they are not able to value some things. They do nothing to maintain

them and keep them in seamless operation. They take everything as natural. I am nevertheless confident investments like these help enhance security.“ The security expert of the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team´s civilian component, Mr. Zbyněk Pavlica, concurs with that opinion. “That is why we focus on building police stations and checkpoints on main roads. We have completed seven sites along the Utah Road, and we construction works in progress on two additional ones. Further two stations are in the preparatory stage. The security situation in Koshi and Baraki Barak districts is quite complicated. The contractor refused to commence works. We are unable to find sufficient quantity of workers who would be able to realise these projects somehow.“ The Czech Provincial Reconstruction is also involved in building installations to improve logistic support for the Afghani National Army (ANA). A cookhouse, mess-rooms and ambulance are in the process of construction in the barracks. It is not just about Camp Shank, but also Camp Altimor nearby. “We have preparations

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underway for projects establishing an ambulance response station. We would like to build on the experience gained in the Czech integrated rescue system. That would provide a single command post for hospitals and the whole rescue corps. But it is surely rather a relatively distant future. Priority is presently attached to activities realised in relatively short timeframes,“ Zbyněk Pavlica adds. ”Training Afghani National Police personnel is also hoped to enhance security in the country. Our objective is to prepare courses for law enforcement forces of all districts in the Logar province. So, local police officers would have single standard equipment and training. But we have not managed to succeed in that yet. We have recently trained ANP personnel recruited from Kabul area. We should contribute to increasing the numbers of this ANSF component. ANP is planned to comprise some one-hundred and fifty thousand personnel. But the question remains whether that is enough, especially considering the high drop-out, desert and fatality rates.“ security personnel. The custody jailhouse will in turn relief the Allies. To date, detainees were transferred to Camp Shank, which naturally entailed some risk.

Jailhouse on a hill
The last of the series of security projects is located high above the province capital. It resembles a medieval castle from distance. We

Court facilities
Our next trip also focuses on security projects. We are worming our way through the streets in the capital of the province, the city of Pol-e’-Alam, which lead us to the local court. There are dugouts already made for foundations of a new structure next to the main building. Workers are just in the process of laying reinforcement. The civilian component of the provincial reconstruction team checks on the progress of work and quality standards. It seems like everything is all right. It is company that has already worked for us in the past, and our previous experience has been very good. The newly built facilities will house library, study room and internet rooms. “We would like to realise the whole project as soon as possible. The contractor promised to have it completed by spring next year,“ Zbyněk Pavlica explains. “We plan for the building to be used in the future not only by judges, public prosecutors and police officers, but also the educational centre in the vicinity - those going should also have access. Equipment and furnishings for this multipurpose facility will be provided by the U.S. In addition to furniture and books, we plan to introduce advanced electronics. A modern compound will come into being to provide adequate facilities.“ This is not a random investment at all. Security is one of the principal pillars of reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and justice is high on the priority list. ”If the rule of law prevails, the government and everything else will also become functional. Local people hold justice in high esteem; this is one of the ways to strengthen it even more and enhance respect that the court enjoys. We will enable it to work to high standards. There must be punishment after every criminal act. It is two sides of the same coin immediately affecting security in this region.“ We may see for ourselves in the security services compound nearby how such building will look like once completed. That is another project funded by the Czech Republic – barracks and custody jailhouse – being handed over for use there. Modern housing and office rooms are designed to facilitate demanding duty of

invest into a male / female jailhouse here, which is designed to house one-hundred and sixty prisoners, of which twenty women. The existing facility of that kind in Pol-e’-Alam is in a wretched condition. It is basically vaults dug in the ground. All barriers on the surface are only made of clay. According to what the jailhouse management say, it just takes kicking a wall and a hole shows up. Its capacity is insufficient moreover. Eighty prisoners are packed in cramped premises. They are watched by over seventy guards, so it is actually a guard per a prisoner. That itself shows little effectiveness. There are security risks tough as well. There has not been an external attack targeting the prison, but the more frequent is unrest and rioting inside. The only imprisoned female was repeatedly raped during the last Ramadan. The guards were unable to guard her. The cost of the

large jailhouse construction is only budgeted at five hundred and forty thousand dollars. The principal material here is rock, which is used not only for building security walls but also for some buildings. Rock is amply available in Afghanistan and therefore cheap. The same applies to manpower. On the other hand, the construction that has been protracted over several years is complicated by the security situation. Insurgents do anything they can to prevent it from completion. Insurgents often threaten construction workers with kidnapping. The location is not without problems too. In the Czech Republic, a jailhouse would be built in a plain area, whereas here it is placed into a very rugged terrain, which called for extensive review of the original design. There is no big activity going on at the construction today either. The site agent tells us most of the bricklayers

stayed home for security reasons. Barely a dozen turned up for work. Czech civilian experts again check the quality of works performed. They inspect documents to see whether amounts released were truly invested by the site agent. ”Despite all the promises and assurances, we have no illusions whatsoever – we will be happy to set the jailhouse operational by mid-2011. The whole thing is also complicated by the fact that our money is transferred through the local Ministry of Justice, which did not always pay the contractor in time in the past. That was also one of the reasons for delays in construction. Fifteen per cent of the total budget was invested here over the first twenty months; presently we are at some sixty-five per cent. There is some visible progress,“ Zbyněk Pavlica concludes.
by Vladimír Marek

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Operations
A convoy of armoured vehicles was being formed at the Shank Forward Operating Base in Logar, Afghanistan. The civilian segment of the Provincial Reconstruction Team was about to set out for the village of Derwish under the protection of soldiers, its task being to hand over a new school to local authorities. However, a Raven reconnaissance UAV had already been airborne for some time.

their instructions. All the communication is naturally in English,” V.N. says. The notebook displays not only the flight route, but also the live feed from the Raven’s onboard camera. The feed is also branched off to the Ops Centre. As soon as the UAV detects something suspicious, the officer in charge can immediately take necessary countermeasures. “We operate in relatively high altitudes where air is thin. This is of course more demanding for operator skills. There is also a dense radio traffic produced both by units on the ground and air assets. We thus lose the signal from time to time. The Raven is preprogrammed, so it reacts to a situation like this

by returning to the starting point and circling in the air until the signal is restored. If we do not want to disclose our position, we give it a backup landing site where it lands and we then pick it up,” describes T.K. “The landing of the UAV poses no problems at all. Its fuselage and wings are made of Kevlar, which is extremely sturdy.

If it lands on a hard surface, there may be some scratches, but the system remains undamaged and functional. To extend the Raven’s useful lifespan, we catch it by hand whenever possible. Thanks to regular training, we have been quite successful in this so far, although the high altitudes make the task more difficult here.” If there is a defect and the required spare part is not readily available, the operators order it in the Czech Republic. However, it is a fairly lengthy process, which also depends on the frequency of resupply flights. Fortunately, they maintain

Raven eyes over Logar
“Our task was to recce the planned movement route ahead of the convoy. When the convoy left the base, we were continuously monitoring its progress and later, during the meeting of civilian experts, we were monitoring the school’s perimeter,” says L.R., one of the Raven’s operators. “When surveying the return leg, we came across a group of suspicious road-workers. We thus recommended the officer in charge to take an alternative route, just to be on the safe side. It is a standard operating procedure in situations like this. We have flown close to 50 hours since the start of our mission here.” The Raven reconnaissance UAVs became a part of the inventory of the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion in the end of 2009. They and their operators were deployed in the ISAF mission for the first time in February 2010. Since then, they have become an integral component of the Provincial Reconstruction Team. They monitor not only movements of mobile patrols and surveillance teams or meetings of the civilian segment of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, but also major crossroads, key road sections or road culverts, where IEDs are often planted. The Ravens also monitor pedestrian traffic and suspicious groups of people. Some time ago, the US Combat Team CO took measures to reduce the number of rocket attacks against the Camp Shank. As a result, a detachment of twenty Czech soldiers deployed to surveillance positions on the strategic elevation of Hesarak. However, the Raven had thoroughly reconnoitred the hill area before they did so. But the main task of the aerial surveillance assets is the protection of the perimeter of Camp Shank. “Night flights are by no means an exception. It is not just about reconnaissance; the Raven is also a deterrent and a demonstrator of force. In certain circumstances, it can even make the insurgents drop their attack plans. After all, lessons learnt in the past have shown that the more intensive the reconnaissance efforts are, the higher the chance of the allies to avoid casualties,” says L.R. Before the UAV takes off, the operators need to do pre-flight checks. They test the device and verify its functionality. “I must also contact air traffic controllers at the local airport and obtain an airspace window for the Raven. Throughout the flight, I am in touch with them and listen to very good relations with the Americans. If they need any part urgently, they can usually obtain it from them. The Raven UAV ranks among assets which have found their use in Afghanistan. Moreover, the operators collectively claim that a higher-category unmanned aerial vehicle with a substantially longer range would also be useful in this theatre.
by Vladimír Marek Photos by Vladimír Marek and the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion

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international environment, as it became sort of my second mother tongue thanks to West Point.“

Division of labour
The total of 49 members of Danish Armed Forces out of 139 foreign participants from 12 nations were involved in the exercise on various levels. Before it started, a staff of thirty spent roughly a month’s time working out documentation. National representatives spent quite some time over a giant map at the initial stage in addition to that, as they had to place all the monitoring centres on it. Nuclear strikes and chemical warfare attacks build up on the map now. Nuclear attacks are of course fiction all the way through. They are said to be a cold war affair. The present general understanding is that the threat is not as high. Possibly, but it is just an impression we get. The peculiar thing about Brave Beduin is that it involves Air and Navy in addition to Lad Forces. And so measurements are also taken on the sea surface. We are not used to anything like that in the Czech Republic. But our centre is updated there dozens of Allied vessels sailing Danish waters. We realise possible targets are out there. So it might be a sort of advantage. Sampling on sea may improve quality or measuring ground strikes and vice versa –measurement on land to refines data gained at sea. ”I receive messages from my colleague and upload them into the system. I figure out what zone they apply to. I zoom in the map and check for military forces located in that area, because I could get additional more specific info from them. I seek to eliminate duplication. Then I add reference number to the message and resend it to my colleague for distribution to other units,“ Master Sergeant Ludmila Šenková explains how a section comprising the computer analysis center. ”It may happen that later I receive a higher quality information on the attack – I correlate it and send it to forces as an update.“ Though MSG Šenková serves in the most important section of the center, she is only third in the row. The first to receive information from Brigade-level computer analysis teams is an operator who checks them for technical correctness and sorts them out for processing. Another officer judges them from specialist point of view checking for discrepancies. The fourth point is responsible for registering and storing information received. The fifth workplace specialises in assessing reports on nuclear attacks, the sixth evaluates reports containing refined measurements and the seventh draws incidents into the map.

NATO exercise Brave Beduin validated the operation of the Czech computer analytical centre evaluating radiologic, chemical and biologic picture

In a new role
Skive is a sleepy town with barely twenty thousand inhabitants in central west Denmark. Earlier in May this year, the city was woken up by somewhat unusual teeming of uniforms of twelve NATO nations’ armed forces. The Engineer Academy compound at the town outskirts hosted the largest computer analysis groups evaluating Chemical, Biologic Radiologic and Nuclear situation in the history of the NATO Alliance.

distorted and inaccurate. That is a thing that cannot be easily simulated in a single-echelon exercise. Our mission includes identifying such mistakes early and redress them, check the reports for correctness and sort out duplicate reports. It is a great school for us. We store our observations, including detected mistakes and use them later on in training back home in the Czech Republic,“ LTC Vohralík underscores. The individual working these errors most intensively is MSG Ladislav Kojzar. ”If there is an incoming message with obvious mistake, it gets to my table. I print it out and go to see the author at the respective brigade. I try to figure out where is the problem there. The corrected information then comes back to us. Preparing plays for various exercises in the Czech Republic, we seek for them to be as real-world as possible. And fidelity here is truly high. There are various nations represented here, with different quality of language skills, and having different procedures. Communicating through protective masks is also demanding. All of that may distort speech. To that effect, I create a database of faults that I will use later in training in the Czech Republic.“

In the course exercise Brave Beduin, Czech CBRN specialists keep rotating at various posts. A new team of individuals that have not worked together so far starts to work. The thing is that people practised as many activities as possible. ”This exercise is not about for people to demonstrate what all they are able to do. It is primarily for us an excellent opportunity to improve ourselves. That was the objective we came here to pursue. This is an environment we can do mistakes in. We are able to cope with them; we learn to correct them. And that is our key goal, the point is not to depart from here as big stars,“ LTC Vohralík says. Other exercise participants have such understanding too. They improvise frequently. For instance they have a colleague with strong German accent reporting instead of them on the phone, or the briefing is performed by a Belgian Colonel the audience have never seen before. All of that enriches the exercise and generates considerable lessons.

Everybody knows each other
The exercise however plays one more role. There is an event aptly called the icebreaker right at the beginning. The thing is that people

Allied exercises on annual basis and Brave Beduin in Denmark is one of them.

NBC specialty only afterwards
Based on an agreement between the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the city of Liberec where a Czech-British chemical, biologic, radiological and nuclear defence brigade command headquarters for the ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) was established in January 2008. In peacetime, the Brigade staff comprises one British and four Czech commissioned officers. Upon activation, the staff is to comprise sixtynine soldiers, of whom there are twenty-five Brits. Subordinate units are assigned by the 31st Chemical, Biologic, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Company in Liberec and a similar British unit. The command participates in several It is the only exercise involving NATO computational analysis centres and its history dates back to 1980s. It is extraordinary particularly because of its broad international participation and the depth of scenario. Incidents are monitored from the moment they occur until full threat elimination. The continuous prestige the Czech CBRN service enjoys was attested by the fact that the Czech soldiers from Liberec played one of the most important roles in this training exercise with many nuclear strikes, dozens of chemical attacks and leaks industrial contaminants. “We had a chance in the past to see how we can work on the level of brigade and army corps; now we have been offered to play the role of area control centre. That is the highest echelon of warning and reporting. In the exercise, our centre’s mission was to monitor situation in the

whole territory and off the coast of Denmark,“ explains Lieutenant-Colonel Petr Vohralík, Chief of Staff CBRN Brigade assigned to ARRC. The only Czech graduate from the prestigious U.S. Military Academy in West Point so far joined the CBRN service in 2002. His colleagues value him for working hard and efforts he exerted to get in to the new specialty. ”I do realise I will not probably be able to absorb CBRN specialty as much as people pursuing it throughout their careers. But I do my best to stand up to requirements placed on me and reveal secrets of NBC warfare,“ says the Chief of Czech group in Exercise Brave Beduin. ”Experience from USMA can be used in vocation. Since I gained some familiarity with computers at West Point, I am perhaps somewhat better prepared to formulate requirements regarding my vision of us automating as many our operations as we possibly can. The present military environment is also close to me thanks to the school. I understand how all the structures should look like. English is also an asset in this

Mistakes more than gold
“The exercise is designed so, that individual national play teams must get the information from the map and documents provided by organisers. Then they follow national procedures to pass the data over to their computer analysis teams and they insert it into computers and share it on the warning and reporting system with others. The process naturally allows faults to occur. Someone makes a slip, some mishears, or take wrong notes. Additional mistakes may occur in evaluating the information and filling out formalised reports. Information coming to our Area Monitoring Center is many times

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got to know each other better, not be shy and work together better later on in the operation room. There are several national representations around the table at any given moment. It is not that there would not be enough room. The point is that individual delegations gain familiarity among themselves and see how business is done in other countries. ”There is an after action review every night for us to learn what people did and what mistakes were made. The objective nevertheless is not to point finger at somebody, but to provide explanation and generalize lessons. We then have time till the next day to redress the shortfalls. Nations send here individuals from various units. Despite relatively unified standard operating procedures, there are substantial differences. Therefore, a manual has been developed for this exercise to bring them to a single standard,“ MSG Ladislav Kojzar explains. ”Fortunately the CBRN defence community is not that large. You keep meeting familiar faces at exercises. You perform a lot better if you can address people you know have a good knowledge of the subject and are able to give you advice. We have this phone-a-friend option. Anytime there are problems we can give a call and solve them together. And that does not apply only to specialist matters.“

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
The first proposal to form NATO rapid deployment forces was presented by Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Lauris Norstad in 1960. The so-called NATO Mobile Forces were established in the same year. After the end of the Cold War, there was an increasing need to deploy NATO forces in crisis regions. The newly formed rapid reaction forces focused on out-of-area crisis response operations. The Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps was established first, based on conclusions of the 1991 NATO Summit in Rome. The United Kingdom 1st Army Corps formed the core, which had been the British primary force serving to protect Germany for four decades. It progressively became one of NATO’s seven high-readiness headquarters. It was activated in 1992 and located on a base close to Rheindahlen,

Germany, two years later. In 2002, ARRC was certified as a multinational high-readiness force with expeditionary capabilities. In 2003, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps was joined by the NATO Response Force (NRF). But in this case, those were units assigned on the principle of rotation only for six months, whereas the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps are permanent standing forces. HQ ARRC was in command of Operation Firm Endeavour in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 11995 and 1996. At the turn of 1999/2000, HQ ARRC led Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo and Operation ISAF in Afghanistan in 2006. It became the lead for NRF in 2009. ARRC comprises of forces assigned by fifteen nations. Besides the Czech Republic, they are Denmark, France, Italy, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

The ARRC mission is to be ready at the order of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe to deploy in an area of responsibility and perform military operations with four to five divisions a corps component, or alternatively support crisis management operations anywhere on the globe within twenty days from the activation order. The United Kingdom decided to withdraw its forces from Germany in 2010 back to home territory. HQ ARRC was therefore moved to Innsworth, UK. At the same time, HQ ARRC took over the lead of Operation ISAF in Afghanistan. Lieutenant-Colonel Vohralík is not of the opinion that it would somehow complicate the situation of the Czech-British Chemical, Biologic, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Brigade Headquarters. ”The problem is only that we do not have the opportunity to train directly with HQ ARRC. The experience ensuing from direct interaction does not develop that much. We are

waiting for ARRC to come back after they complete their mission in Afghanistan. We suppose we should again be attending an ARRC exercise at full strength in 2013 at latest. Now there is a lack in immediate communication. We cannot harmonise operation procedures. Moreover, we are restricted to using exercise scenarios we develop ourselves. The more things get demanding. When ARRC trains in a standard way every year, they create a full play we prep ourselves to perform. The play is develop based on their manoeuvre,“ LTC Vohralík elaborates. “In spite of that, we have proven for ourselves in all past exercises that we making considerable steps forward. We gain familiarity with new procedures, and more intensively realise our new role. Our understanding at the beginning was that we would only provide forces to perform missions

in individual divisions’ areas of responsibility. Following lessons we gained in previous exercises we now know that we may be assigned own area of operations to perform mission autonomously possibly with additional assigned assets. Likewise, command posts were built with secure networks earmarked for their operations. Staff has improved its operations. Operation procedures were largely reviewed too. We formulated them precisely for us to best and most effectively manage contingencies.“

by Vladimír Marek

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This year’s largest exercise for CBRN specialists from Liberec, the Peaceful Dragon, was designed to certify NATO Response Force NRF 17 and 18 rotations

Under Dragon’s Protection
Extensive oil reservoirs were unexpectedly discovered in the territory of Calania. Neighbouring state borders have never been clearly determined. So a protracted dispute arose as to whom the raw materials actually belong to. One of the five neighbouring nations refrained from expanding, the other four formed two irreconcilable rival couples with hostilities already ongoing.
That was the scenario of an international chemical, biologic, radiological and nuclear defence exercise Peaceful Dragon, which took place at the turn of April and May in Northern Bohemia. In addition to Czech CBRN service personnel from Liberec, the exercise involved specialists from Belgium, Finland, France, Hungary and Poland. ”It is where our annual training program comes to a head. An exercise of that size is unlikely to take place in 2012 either. The objective is to do preparation for assignment to the NATO Response Force NRF-17 and 18. We have worked this assignment for months,“ the Commander 31st Chemical, Biologic, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Brigade, Colonel Miroslav Knopp explained. than real; it could have taken place in any crisis region on the globe. The UN endorsed a resolution based on a request for assistance. NRF forces are to deploy in the disputed area for the period of twelve months with the mission to supervise the observance of truce. Multinational battalion led by Czech CBRN personnel perform specialist tasks and stands ready to provide response to incidents involving leaks or abuse of radioactive, chemical and biologic warfare agents and industrial contaminants. The NATO Response Force was established in 2003 as selected multinational high-readiness forces capable of deploying and operating anywhere in the world. Their possible missions may include both the use of force and also peace operations, humanitarian aid as well as civil protection. Units initially rotated for stand-by in six-month cycles, while the previous six months were scheduled for preparation and improving

interoperability. Pursuant to a new concept, the forces are on standby readiness over the period of twelve months. NRF-17 will have JFC Naples for its operation headquarters, while JFC Brunssum will be OHQ for NRF-18. The Liberec-based 31st CBRN Brigade has already gained some experience with the NATO Response Force. As early as in the first rotation back in 2003, the Czech CBRN Brigade had the lead for chemical, biologic, radiological and nuclear defence. The brigade played its role again in 2008. “Our certification for NRF comprises three training exercises, first of which we performed in Turkey at the beginning of April to prove our CBRN battalion’s interoperability with the Land Component forces. Exercise Peaceful Dragon is designed to verify the staff’s ability to exercise command and control over subordinate forces. The final exercise will again take place in Turkey and will verify the capability to perform specialist tasks in conjunction with Land, Naval and Air Forces,“ explains Lieutenant-Colonel Karel Dvonč, Commander of the 311th Chemical, Biologic, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Battalion and the commander of the battalion assigned to NRF-17 and 18. ”I am confident the Czech Armed Forces continue to have CBRN defence as a high priority. Indeed it is attested by the fact that we have been selected again as the lead nation for this mission. That is definitely not something you would get for free. It is up to us now to maintain our position. We have

twelve months to do that, specifically from July 1st, 2011, till June 30th, 2012. The notice-tomove limit is from ten to thirty days, which will naturally entail various restrictions including in leaves for unit members.“

A development project to produce a reconnaissance armoured vehicle has been underway with the first prototype scheduled for roll-out next year. We will see what the future holds,“ Colonel Knopp concludes.

Samples from a ship
Sampling team weaves its way the streets of the city of Děčín. The team members took samples on a river boat just while ago. Now they have to transport them as quickly as possible into the AL-2CH mobile chemical lab. ”So far, we had a chance to analyse drug samples during the exercise; today we performed analysis on dismantled munitions and now we will start analysing the samples taken in Děčín,“ the chief of chemical lab Captain Věra Bielská elaborates. “Our containerised system is primarily designed to provide analysis of chemical warfare agents and industrial contaminants.“ A report is coming that one of the most extensive tasks the multinational battalion will be performing in the exercise would be personnel and hardware decontamination in Litoměřice. We are passing the boundary of the Tisá Military Training Area guarded by a mechanised platoon of the Czech 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade. Pandur Armoured Fighting Vehicle stands ready right at the road to block way in case needed. CBRN defence versions of the vehicles were also originally contracted, but it did eventually materialise because of lack of funding. ”Much of the hardware here rightly deserves attention. Obviously, Fins or Belgians for example have enough funds available for investments in CBRN defence. We have pursued CBRN defence as our longterm priority in NATO, and so we are understood by our NATO partners. We manage to meet expectations in some areas, but we have to step up modernisation of equipment and materiel, otherwise we will hardly remain competitive. As a priority, investments should go to labs, SIBCRA teams and reconnaissance.

Interesting comparison
There are several sites deployed in Litoměřice on a meadow close to the Elbe river to provide equipment and personnel decontamination. Besides Czech service personnel, French and Belgians soldiers were present. “This is a light decontamination of vehicle crews, mostly drivers. Other troops pass through large decontamination tent shelters. There is the EDS mixing system that cleans vehicle interior. Drivers undergo similar procedure in individual showers. Then they get issued clean clothes and depart with their decontaminated vehicles,“ team leader Sergeant Marek Mokrý explains in one of smaller sites. ”We have had a chance to try all ways of chemical defence support during

the exercise: reconnaissance, sampling and identification. It is interesting to compare our equipment and procedures with how other armed forces do the business. It is a valuable lesson.“ As to vehicle decontamination, our line is missing here. All Armed Forces present here use manual pressure washers, which is far less effective. But that does not mean that there would any problems with compatibility among individual national units. “Harmonising these things is not a problem. Though every unit has different equipment, the procedures are very similar. We have an opportunity here to various types of systems, different approaches. I would hate to say some way is better than the other. The key thing is that the outcome remains the same. As a matter of fact, the capacity of our line decontamination method remains several times higher,“ LTC Dvonč concludes.
by Vladimír Marek

Conflict among fictive states
Fictive states were established for the needs of the exercise. The scenario however was more

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Thanks to its cooperation with French military schools, the Czech University of Defence had an opportunity to send two cadets into the French Guiana As students of reconnaissance program of the Czech University of Defence, SGT Petr Homola and SGT Jiří Sedlák, were landing at a Paris airport at the beginning of March earlier this year, they knew they were at the beginning of long journey. In Paris they took a train to Saint-Cyr, to join colleagues from their partner school, the École Spéciale Militaire, and then they departed on a military plane to French Guiana to the base of the 3rd Regiment the Foreign Legion in Kourou. From Kourou, they moved to a forward camp directly in the jungle.

Deadly

Jungle

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only took machetes from them and a cot with mosquito net. We were issued one more, such a small just for a head. But we did not use it, one could not sleep in it at all,“ elaborates Petr Homola. We were glad then that a soak came in. At least it washed the dirt off us. You get used to water. The worst is the transition, when you have to immerse and ford a stream for instance. We found out it is better to soak boots right in the morning before the movement, one gets used to being wet and it does not trouble that much.“ It is essential to maintain some sort of hygiene even in these difficult conditions. They knew from the guys who were at Guiana before, that they needed to look after their feet most. Every night we treated them with Indulona (hydrating protective skin cream) and treated soles with powder. And they did not have any problems thanks to that. If the there is no sunshine, it is rather gloomy in the jungle. Everything is very murky. With good visibility, you are able to see objects hundred and fifty feet ahead. The more difficult orienting is. You climb a hill and what you can see is only thick vegetation. There is no landmark anywhere for you to start from. Moreover, everything is complicated by aggravated mobility. Moving over a five-kilometre distance often required more than five hours. Movements with satellite navigation were therefore substantially faster.

Ants were hell
First days were dedicated to getting familiar with the jungle and possible dangers. There is small ZOO set up to that effect on the very premises of the Foreign Legion camp. There are animals soldiers may possibly encounter in the jungle. Compared to the jungle, forests in the Czech Republic are truly the Garden of Eden. The worst are insects. Mosquitoes cause of malaria, flies may be the root for tissue necrosis, snakes and some species of caterpillars and frogs can be deadly poisonous. ”I had the biggest problems with ants personally. They were all around; one could not sit on the ground, because you would have on your body at once. You would get bitten terribly, the whole body itches, you have scratch all the time and lacerated skin is particularly dangerous in this environment,“ Jiří Sedlák describes. ”A French female radio operator had her body so grazed, that she had to suspend the training and leave for the camp. There she had a shower and got well. Only then she could return.“ The following training focused on setting up shelters, emergency beds, various improvised traps, making a fire and other stuff essential for jungle survival. ”Even common things may be quite complex in a jungle forest. To make a fire in an environment where everything is wet and a high humidity prevails requires an immense effort. Out of three types of wood you have to select the right one with yellow colour. Then you need to chop it to kindling chips and pray for it to catch fire. Oftentimes you would blow them up for two hours, and still it would burn out. When you do manage to make fire, you cannot leave it, you have maintain it constantly,“ Jiří Sedlák points out.

”Right after getting off the airplane, we were struck by immense heat. We did not feel air humidity that much at that moment. Three days passed before we got settled to high temperatures,“ Sergeant Petr Homola describes. Two selected students of the University of Defence take part in a jungle survival course each year. This year was somewhat slightly different though. Czech servicemembers were assigned into the group of students coming from the École spéciale militaire, who were selected from among the best NCOs. ”They were mostly older but highly experienced warfighters. Contrarily to regular students of the school, they did not that much competitiveness, but the more they did teamwork. They distributed all assignments fairly. As opposed to previous runs, it did not happen that we would be required to carry radios or heavy soaked ropes all the time,“ SGT Sedlák says.

Four-day survival
As a matter of tradition the training culminated in a four-day exercise when soldiers were dropped in the middle of jungle and it was only up to them to survive. They got a machete, compass, lighter, whistle, repellent, salt and a watertreatment pill. They had one shotgun in the platoon for animal hunting. They drank water from the muddy river. The platoon containing Jiří Sedlák caught several apes and a ray on a line. Monkeys may not be eaten in Guiana, so they got it exchanged for rice. Boiled in river water with a piece of ray meat, it was truly delicious for starving stomachs. We had a chance to refresh that way on the last day and were able thanks to that to cope with the demanding final movement involving water crossing using rafts they built themselves. The group containing Petr Homola did a little bit worse. Their hunters ended up empty handed. “We picked muku muku, which tasted like roast potatoes when cooked, or rather like chestnuts. We also found a palm tree called vasay, which could be eaten. It was something like our kohlrabi. We caught small two-inch river crabs and cooked a pretty good soup out of them,“ SGT Homola adds. As to tactics, the Czech soldiers only practised shotgun shooting, overcoming water, abseiling and a helicopter drop at the end. And that belonged to the most exciting experiences. ”We got onboard a Puma helicopter at camp Regina and did a couple of low-level passes over the jungle. It was like these American movies on the Vietnam War. Eight of us jumped in a tight sequence with kits from the height of eight metres into the river. We had a life vest under arm, for contingency. It was perfect,“ Petr Homola recalls. ”Back in the port at the camp, we put all of our staff into order. We had to clean the pink mud off our uniforms. It was a nice sight: ninety people were drying their battledresses.“ There were many Russians and Germans among the Foreign Legion instructors, but

Verbal solitude
The course participants were divided into four platoons. Czech soldiers were intentionally assigned to different platoons. That later showed to be one of the greatest mental challenges. Most of the French troops did not speak English, and so the Czech soldiers were like fulfilling the badge of silence over lengthy movements. “We saw each other say once in five days. The verbal solitude was digging in one’s brain. It is much worse than physical load. When you have to do thirty push-ups, you do it without problems – you have something to do. One of the days we spent in the jungle was truly academic, comprising lessons. We stood long hours in a single spot and the rain poured down. And that was an episode that belonged to mentally most demanding moments. At that time, I though why was I there, whether I really wanted that. Those moments either make you stronger or you go crazy,“ SGT Homola explains. The Czech personnel brought with them two sets of summer battledresses. One wet all the time for days and the other one for nights. The design and materials used were ideal for the local environment. The French had much more trouble with their uniforms. But their boots were even worse. The French Mod. 60 boots were far from the qualities of our jungle boots. ”Basically we did not need anything from them, we did with field uniforms, the modular harness system and a medium kit for reconnaissance troops. We

Always different demands
One of the greatest loads we took were the obstacle courses, differing substantially from what we would imagine. They are built in the middle of jungle forest and make a maximum use of the local terrain features and climate conditions. The most famous perhaps is the pig trail, where soldiers are mostly required to ford mud and water. Liana trail ranks among the challenging ones. The complex of ropes, trees and pulleys is what you have to pass virtually without touching the ground. It is very demanding, especially for arms strength. The other two courses are a matter of teamwork. “We crossed them virtually every day. Many times repeatedly. Once we drag a casualty, then we passed them individually. There was always a different level of skills required But there were always different demands. In the morning, there might be two metres of mud and water and in the afternoon just up to the heels. And it does not have to rain that area. It just takes a have downpour two kilometres away. Water drains down to your place,“ Jiří Sedlák explains. ”When I struggled through the pig trail waistdeep in the mud, it was not the nicest feeling.

Brazilians were no exception either. ”Our chief instructor was a Byelorussian, his deputy was a Russian. They sought to teach us as much as they could, they had patience with us. When instructors saw we were steaming, they did not torment us physically that much. When some did not pay attention or disturbed during explanation, then of course he got it,“ SGT Homola describes. Two students from the Defence University in Brno are already back in the Czech Republic. Apart from a gamut of experiences, they made an important observation. People have much more power, than they would initially think. Nevertheless, nature should not underestimated. Jungle is very dangerous, and even deadly in some instances. But you can survive in a team...
by Vladimír Marek Photos by course participants

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Operations

Sinai Peninsula witnessed several war conflicts in the previous century. Situation started to consolidate in the region as late as 1979, when a Treaty of Peace of signed between the State of Israel and the Arab Republic of Egypt, which normalised their relations after the end of the fifth Arab-Israeli war.

Under the Biblical Mount
August 1981 saw the treaty ratified on establishing the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO). MFO was mandated to operate in Sinai to supervise observation of security measures in Sinai and in part of Israel. Last year, three Czech officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Ladislav Sekan, Major Petr Nedoma and Captain Michal Augustin, were sent to the place where the history of the world has written its history for centuries. The Multinational Force and Observers have two camps in the peninsula covering more than sixty thousand kilometres. The larger one, the North Camp, is obviously located in the north, roughly 15 kilometres south-west of the Gaza Strip. Smaller one, the South Camp, is at the very south. Additional units are stationed at checkpoints and observation posts in Zone C.

Forces just for this mission
“It is a traditional peacekeeping mission. MFO forces were created specifically for this operation; they do not operate anywhere else on the globe. MFO is mandated by the Protocol to the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Egypt. Our mission is to observe, report and verify how it is observed. The area we operate in is divided into four zones. Three of them are in the Sinai, the fourth one comprises of a three kilometre wide strip within Israel and coastal waters of individual zones,“ explains Lieutenant-Colonel Sekan, who serves as the assistant chief of staff

(ACOS). He is responsible for a wide variety of missions, namely in the sphere of organisation, security, financial and project management. ”I apply the lessons I learnt in operations in Kosovo and Iraq as well as my staff tours in NATO structures, where I was posted from 2006 till 2009 at the strategic command HQ in Mons,“ LTC Sekan elaborates. He describes his typical working day as a dynamic stereotype: ”Every day is basically the same, but it differs in activities performed. But that is indeed typical for military environments.“

Multinational environment
Major Nedoma is assigned to the post of security officer. He is responsible for facility and personnel security of both camps and all observation posts. He inspects both observance of standard procedures and modernisation of existing equipment and infrastructures. He says there are days he devotes his time solely to paperwork, and conversely, he is travelling to inspect checkpoints and observations posts. Captain Augustin works in the staff as a member of the technical branch. ”My job is to develop the preventive maintenance program for key camp facilities and its implementation. It is not a stereotype work, as it could seem at the first sight. Days spent in office take turns regularly with activities associated with gathering necessary data in the field,“ CPT Augustin adds. All three perform their duties in a highly multinational and multicultural environment. MFO personnel, both military and civilians, recruit from most various parts of the world. The Armed Forces of Australian, Canada, Columbia, France, Fiji, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand,

Norway, Uruguay, U.S. and naturally the Czech Armed Forces are represented in here. As for civilians, Americans, Brits and Egyptians are most numerous. MFO command provides a centralised logistic support. Officers’ mess is run by local chefs in collaboration with personnel provided by a civilian contractor responsible for additional logistic support. Transportation is provided solely by MFO vehicles; the Czech Armed Forces does not have any cars deployed there. Czech soldiers are in a desert environment here, which reflects in that they wear Model 95 desert uniforms they have been issued. Standard desert helmet covers are replaced by yellow ones for MFO personnel’s easy identification. All forces at camps wear terracotta beret caps with MFO crest, and commissioned officers are recognised by metal MFO badge on the cap. In addition, the Czechs have means of ballistic protection, personal weapons and other materiel, much the same as do the Czech Armed Forces service personnel deploying for Operation ISAF in Afghanistan.

Close to the cradle of civilisation
The Sinai desert covers the greatest part of the peninsula. Its central and south part is corrugated by the Sinai mountain range with the highest point and at the same time the highest peak of Egypt is the Mount Saint Catherine that reaches 2,642 metres high. Another important summit in the region is the Biblical Mount Sinai with 2,285 metres above sea level. “We basically live in a desert with extreme temperatures reaching up to forty-five degrees Celsius in summertime. But the region is very

attractive otherwise. We are both in the very proximity to the cradle of civilisation, but also to the most sacred place of several global monotheist religions,“ LTC Sekan expands. ”I have spent whole my professional life military in air defence service. The more impressive for me was naval training for MFO vessel crews that I attended in the Red Sea.“ Major Nedoma was conversely intrigued by his very first trip outside the camp: ”During that movement, I could observe endless desert with wonderful mountain sceneries. One increases familiarity every day with the culture of local population, and the region becomes ever more interesting.“ Captain Augustin also has a plethora of unusual experiences. But one subconsciously seeks to displace many of them. “For guys coming from central Europe, sandstorms are definitely highly impressive, as they sometimes rage here whole week long. Sand in the air considerably limits visibility; we have in the eyes, ears and in the mouth. Everything is covered with dust, even inside buildings. Sandstorms significantly restrict mobility,“ the Czech Captain explains. ”Separation from families also very much affect our emotions. The deployment in Sinai is my third operational tour, out of four longterm foreign assignments over the seven past years. I could say nothing can surprise me. But every mission is different nevertheless. This time at least in the respect that I am stationed here for whole twelve months and that besides my wife, I left a six-month old daughter back at home.“
by Vladimír Marek photos by Ladislav Sekan

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ARMÁDA A RMÁDA A V VEŘEJNOST EŘEJNOST

History

The secret of the rescue operation unparalleled in modern history has finally been revealed. The reenactments presented in the movie “Nicky’s Family” by Matej Mináč and Patrik Pašš help relive newly discovered stories of rescued Czech children and Sir Nicholas Winton. For an hour and a half, we can watch how an example set by a single man can inspire people and change today’s world even after seventy years.

The Seeker of Lost Destinies
The new movie about Nicholas Winton and his positive message brings so far unpublished facts, evidence and fates of newly found “Winton’s children”. One of the movie’s partners was the Ministry of Defence; the Military History Institute provided not only unique historical film footage, but also the knowledge of its military historians. “The interest of students and the fact that thousands of children all over the world and inspired by Winton have started dispensing charity or even saving other children like modern Wintons amazed us so much that we, that is myself and Patrik Pašš, decided to examine this unbelievable story some more,” recalls Matej Mináč. As a matter of fact, new facts kept appearing all the time. For example, the story of a beautiful spy named Kerstin who, although she worked for the Gestapo office in Prague, helped Winton save 25 children by taking them to Sweden, or the fateful story of a mother who could not part company with her little daughter on the platform of the Wilson Station and send her to uncertain safety. “Well, you have to admit we had no other option but to carry on. We decided we would not allow the most exciting stories and the students’ activities to be forgotten or lost,” continues Mináč. “This was why we have shot this movie. We wanted to show that the biggest family in the world, Nicky’s Family, included not only the thousands of people who owe their lives to Nicholas Winton, but also all those who want to do something positive for our world.” The shooting locations included the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, United States, France, Cambodia, Canada, Israel, Denmark and Slovakia, and more than 450 hours of raw footage were recorded during the six years the project had taken. “The saved children, many of whom have become renowned scientists and experts and who are often over eighty now, appear in the movie with their recollections,” reveals the director. “For example, Ben Abeles, a top US scientist who masterminded the drive system of the Voyager and Cassini spacecrafts, which enabled them to take photographs of and record data on the remotest planets of the solar system, or Joe Schlesinger, a well-known TV reporter of the Canadian CBC network, who guides throughout the movie, to name but a few.” The premiere of the movie took place in the Prague Congress Centre in January 2011; apart from the saved children appearing in the movie, actors and members of the creative team, it was also attended by Sir Nicholas Winton himself. “I wish that the emotionality and catharsic effect of Winton’s story inspired the spectators, especially young people who have not lost their ideals yet, to think about it and perhaps do just one small good deed under Winton’s influence,” says Matej Mináč. More than 100,000 Czech children have signed a petition requiring that the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to Sir Nicholas Winton. The nomination letter was handed over by Přemysl Sobotka, First Deputy Speaker of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, to the Norwegian Ambassador to Prague in the Prague Congress Centre just before the premiere. The movie launch date for Czech cinemas was February 3, 2011, followed by premieres in the United States, United Kingdom and Slovakia.

by Jana Deckerová and Jiří Hokův photos by Jan Kouba and BONTONFILM, a. s.

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History

From the School-Leaving Exam Directly to the Air Force
Jiří Kavka was born in 1924 into a Prague Jewish family. He studied at an academic secondary school. In March 1939, when the Germans occupied what remained of Czechoslovakia after the border territories had been ceded to Germany, his father suggested that at least the children should be sent to safety. However, his mother disagreed; she wanted Jiří and his brother to at least finish the school year.
So, their departure to England was postponed until June 28, 1939, when the school was over. “Only a few people had been able to recognize the magnitude of the danger facing us before the war broke out. I did not know at that time we were a part of the transports organized by the British broker Nicholas Winton; I learnt about that much later, several decades after the end of the war,” recalls Jiří Kafka, recollecting the fateful moments. “At that time, the Germans were allowing the Jews to go, they were happy to get rid of them. The problem was we didn’t have any place to go. All major countries had closed their borders. Getting a British or US visa was tremendously difficult at that time. This makes me families thus could afford that,” explains the war veteran. At the end of the day, they took them to the coast off Ipswich, to a camp for Jewish child refugees from Germany and Austria. They spent more than two months there. The brothers had an opportunity to refresh their German which they had studied at the secondary school in Prague. Then they got to a vacation school in the southern part of England. At that time, they knew only the basics of English, which they had been taught by a hired Jewish tutor shortly before their departure from Prague. They thus studied the language. Later on, an American Jewish agency paid for their secondary school studies, which Jiří completed by a school-leaving exam in 1942. “I was eighteen then, so I could immediately volunteer for the army. Roughly a month later, I was selected for service in the Czechoslovak 311th Bomber Squadron. I was made a machinegunner/radio operator in a Liberator bomber,” says Jiří Kafka, smiling after all the years. “We had to undergo tough training the final phase of which took place in the Bahamas, quite an exotic place for us, where the bomber crews were put together. I was given the Flight Sergeant’s rank.” When he started flying sorties, the squadron had already been transferred under the Coastal Command. So they were on the lookout for German submarines, escorting convoys or hunting German ships. They were cruising the airspace over the Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay or North Sea. “I have a lot of experiences to remember. We were under heavy fire of the enemy quite often and came back with a damaged plane several times,” describes Jiří Kafka. “Once we had to crash-land on a small island east of Scotland. It was quite tough, the front leg collapsed and we landed on our nose. But all of us survived

in good health. I did not suffer any major injury while flying.” The war ended and members of the Bomber Squadron returned home in July 1945, landing on the Ruzyně Airport. Shortly after the war, Jiří Kafka learnt that his mother had survived Auschwitz. She lived together with Jiří’s father with their relatives in Bertramka. Jiří immediately left the airport to find the address he had been given. But he found no one there. “I thus sat on the stairs and waited. After some time, my parents returned from the cinema. It was dark in the corridor and they saw me only when they opened the elevator door. I only said: “Hi mom”. I scared them terribly. We hadn’t seen each other for six years. But then we fell into each other’s arms.” Jiří Kafka parted company with the army shortly thereafter. His squadron was billeted in the Ruzyně barracks, previously occupied by German soldiers. There were crushed lice smeared all over the walls. He didn’t even unpack and left immediately. He arranged his release papers later. In 1947, the political situation started deteriorating, so he decided to return to the United Kingdom. He was given a warm reception there. He married and with one of his friends founded a company importing Czech artificial jewellery. The firm prospered, but started boring him after some time. He thus switched to real estate business. In 1960, he and his wife and children moved to Israel, where they spent eight years. His wife loved the place which was, in her eyes, adventurous and exotic. Shortly after November 1989 he returned to Czechoslovakia for good. He found a lot of friends here, even after all those years. He regularly meets with one of them, Major Pavel Vranský, in a favorite restaurant every week. They are joined by their past. Jiří Kafka’s colleague, who is three years older, was fighting in Tobruk and was also flying anti-submarine patrols later during the war. They discuss animatedly. But not the war. Everything was clearly defined and unambiguous at that time. They discuss politics ….
by Vladimír Marek photos by Vladimír Marek and Jiří Kafka

appreciate even more what Sir Nicholas Winton did for us. He was a young man and his energetic and decisive behaviour was admirable.” Jiří Kafka was fifteen at that time. His brother, who travelled with him, was a year younger. When they arrived at a London stations after many tiresome hours spent on the train, an unpleasant and disenchanting surprise had been waiting for them. None of the families had selected them. They stayed at the station, not knowing what would happen to them. “Most of the families wanted little children, and little girls were most in demand. Taking a child into one’s family carried a relatively high fee, and not everyone had that kind of money. Poorer

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History
The hundredth anniversary of the birthday of František Peřina, one of our most successful World War II pilots
school, he trained to become a lathe operator in Brno. Actually, it was an air show in the Moravian capital, which he visited by accident, that determined his fate. It was there that he decided to become a military pilot. Between 1929 and 1931, he was attending the Young Pilots’ School in Prostějov. However, he had to file the application without his mother knowing. For four years she did not have a clue her son was flying. František turned out to be a natural from the very beginning. With just six years of service with fighter squadrons at his belt, he ranked among the very best. It thus wasn’t much of a surprise that he was one of the sixteen best pilots selected for an international air competition held in Zurich in 1937. The Czechoslovak team won the aerobatics contest and finished second overall, losing only to Germany. Peřina and his Avia B-534 participated in three disciplines, competing mainly with substantially more modern Messerschmit Bf 109 prototypes, and finished second, third and fourth. people closest to me, including my wife, back home. I didn’t know anything about them throughout the war and I rather thought they had been imprisoned. I set myself a target to shoot down ten German airplanes for every close person killed by Germans. I downed five in the first few days. I made an ace pilot and I foolishly thought it would go on like this forever. As it was, I had fourteen kills when the war ended,” he recalled later. But František Peřina also had his stroke of bad luck in France. On June 3, 1940, he was seriously wounded during a dogfight off Paris. “I flew alone into a group of 60 German Me-110s, I wanted to draw away their attention. It was a foolish thing to do; I had a hunch it could not turn out well. But I had to draw them away from the bombers they were escorting and protecting, because our pilots were about to attack the bombers. When attacked, the Germans usually formed a circle in which they protected each other. However, the surprise was just about perfect. The Germans became jittery and formed a tactical defensive furball, while precious minutes were slipping away. In the meantime, boys from our squadron managed to shot down eight German bombers and lost just airplane,” he recollected after many years. “However, I was hit in the right elbow. I also had fragments of 20mm cannon rounds embedded in my leg. Surprisingly, I was not feeling anything. If a round does not hit a bone and you have a clean flesh shot, you usually do not realize you have been hit in the heat of combat. I believed everything was all right, so instead of landing in Saint Dizier, I chose Paris, which was farther away. But I soon realized it was not a good choice. The leg started hurting and I felt I could not move it. There was no other option but to attempt a crashlanding. The landing gear could not be deployed, so I had to belly-land. I do not remember much else afterwards; as soon as the airplane came to a stop, I fainted.”

The Hunter of War
“František Peřina found out the airplane that had downed Accart had fallen a little bit behind. Perhaps out of curiosity. He reacted immediately: he chased him down and fired a point-blank heavy burst into its damn good structure, right between its two rudders.”
“He watched his tracers walking down the Dornier’s massive spine and into the cockpit and engines. When pulling out, he saw a black smudge of oil trailing behind the Dornier. He made use of the absence of Me-110s and attacked two other bombers, which had probably been peppered earlier by Accart. For sure, Accart had rattled them up, because they were alone, while the whole pack of the other German bombers was making its escape together. It was another card playing into Peřina’s hand. He chose one of them and kept firing into it, regardless of what the bomber’s machine-gunners were doing. He won the fight, forcing the crew to jump out, while the shot-up airplane was spiralling down to the ground.” These were the words František Fajtl used to describe the air battles of his comrade-in-arms František Peřina over France in May 1940. The total number of victories won by one of our most successful pilots in the skies of France included 11 confirmed and 2 probable kills. František Peřina was born on April 8, 1911, in Morkůvky, off Břeclav. Having finished high

Recovered Soon Enough to Take Part in the Battle of Britain
However, František Peřina did not spend much time in the hospital. The Germans were getting closer and he could not expect any satin glove treatment from them. Although he was not completely cured, he fled from the hospital and flew to North Africa. From Casablanca, he took a ship to the United Kingdom. As early as in the beginning of September 1940, he took part in the Battle of Britain in the ranks of the 312th Czechoslovak Fighter Squadron. He later flew Hurricanes and Spitfires over the occupied Europe. When the war ended, he returned to Moravia and became a shooting and bombing instructor in the Pilots’ School in Olomouc. Since 1947, he was the Commandant of the Air Force Shooting Range in Malacky. However, he was fired from the army after February 1948. He felt he might go to prison, so he decided to emigrate again. With his wife and his friend Karel Rada, they boarded an M-1 Sokol aircraft and took off for the border, in torrential rain and without any maps or navigation instruments. They evaded České Budějovice with its strong air base. As they were sneaking low through mountain passes on the border, they started running out of fuel. A village with a small church fortunately appeared in front of them. They managed to circle it and then the engine stalled completely. The field below them was muddy as hell and landing on it with the landing gear deployed would have been tantamount to suicide. This was why they opted for a belly landing. They landed off Passau, close to the Czechoslovak border and just 8 kilometres from the Soviet occupation zone in the territory of Austria. He was lucky again. He served in the Royal Air Force again, and later worked and did business in Canada and the United States. However, after November 1989 Czechoslovakia kept beckoning him back. In 1991, he flew to Prague for good, allegedly to die here. He was eighty. A long time ago, a gipsy palm-reader told him he would live till eightytwo. He thus wanted to spend the last two years of his life in his homeland. As it was, he beat the forecast by thirteen years; he died in Prague on May 6, 2006. However, he had managed to comment his duel with the grim reaper with his typical humour before his death. “One should not be afraid to put up a fight with him. And, moreover, it is not bad to show that gipsies need not necessarily be that good palm-readers.”
by Vladimír Marek Photos: Vladimír Marek, Jiří Hokův, Central Military Archives and Institute of Military History

Accard’s Number
With Czechoslovakia occupied by Germany, František Peřina did not hesitate too long. As early as on June 27, 1939, just a day after his wedding with Anička Klimešová, he crossed the border to Poland and from there he sailed on the Chrobry to France. In the end of 1939, he was one of the first twenty Czechoslovak pilots dispatched to the western front. He was assigned to the legendary squadron “Les Cigognes” (“Storks”). He was flying as the “number” of Captain Accard, whom he had met during the international air competition in Zurich. “I liked war. It reminded me of the hunt. I furiously wanted to fight, because I had a reason. My country was occupied and I had left eight

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Sport rubrika
In the Gala Night presenting the Football player of the year 2010 awards marked by the birthday of Josef Masopust, the famous football player received personal congratulations by the best Portuguese player of the past century, Eusebio. In conclusion, the legendary player of Dukla Praha was decorated with the highest Czech MoD decoration, the Golden Linden of the Minister of Defence, by Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra.
fakta
Greatest football achievements and awards of Josef Masopust: 1952 – Winner of the Czechoslovak Cup (ATK Praha) 1953 – Champion of Czechoslovakia (ÚDA Praha) 1956, 1958, 1962, 1963,1964, 1966 – Champion of Czechoslovakia (Dukla Praha) 1960 – 3rd place in the European Nations Cup (European Champion) 1961 – Champion of Czechoslovakia (Dukla Praha) 1962 – World Championship in Chile, 2nd rank 1962 – Awarded the Golden Ball as the best football player of the year 1965–1966 – Winner of the Czechoslovak Cup (Dukla Praha) 1966 – Czechoslovak football player of the year 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 – Winner of the American Cup (Dukla) 1999 – Holder of the Grand Prize of the Czech Fair Play Club 2000 – Winner of the Czech prestigious Footballer of the Century Award 2001 – Awarded the Defence Cross of Merit, 1st Class 2004 – Pelé named him one of the world’s best 125 football players alive 2005 – Holder of the FIFA Golden Order of Merit 2006 – Decorated with the Medal of Merit, 1st class 2006 – Best Czech football player of the century 2008 – Awarded the ASC DUKLA memorial medal 2011 – Decorated with Golden Linden of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic

Dukla is the Club of My Heart
Football player of the century, Mr. Josef Masopust, was born in a coal-miner family in Střimice at the city of Most, Czech Republic, on February 9, 1931. Shortly after World War II, he became a member of the junior team of the city of Most. Aged eighteen, he signed a transfer into Teplice that played the league, where he played for two years from the beginning of the 1950 season. He got a drafting order to enlist at the Army Physical Training Club on April 29, 1952, at a time the Army was forming a new ambitious soccer team. In 1953, the club was renamed Ústřední dům armády Praha (Central Army House Prague) and Josef Masopust won his first major league title. The club was definitely renamed Dukla Praha in 1956. Josef Masopust remained faithful the army team for sixteen years and throughout that time, he was in the position of left midfielder, a central personality, the playmaker of the team. He played on the national team sixty-three times and scored ten goals. In 1960, he was a member of the team that won bronze medals in European Championship. The peak of his career came when he won silver medal in the World championship in Chile in 1962, where he netted the first and only goal Czechoslovakia scored against Brazil in the final, which eventually won 3:1. In that year, Masopust received the European Footballer of the year award and won the Golden Ball as the only Czech national team member. A year later, he played on the team of the world’s best players in England. He played in teams of best European players in 1964 and 1965. In 1966, he won the second edition of the poll selecting Czechoslovakia’s best football player. For the last time, Lieutenant-Colonel wore the strip of Dukla Praha on June 22, 1968; he played 336 league matches, scored 69 goals and helped Dukla to win seven league titles. Already on July 1st, he reinforced Crossing Molenbeek, a Belgian club. He finished his career in another top Belgian club – Crossing Schaarbeek. Upon returning back home, he took up appointment as a coach in Dukla, then in Brno, where he brought Zbrojovku Brno to the title of national champion, in Hasselt, Belgium, the Czechoslovak national team and Indonesian youth national team.

Held in Hotel Ambassador – Golden Goose was the venue on February 4th, 2011, for the birthday congratulation night with about 400 guests including many prominent athletes headed by Olympic contestants Věra Čáslavská and Dana Zátopková. The gala night featured a video salute by the most famous player of the football history Pelé, congratulations by legendary Spanish player Alfredo di Stéfano, his friend Uwe Seeler, teammate Ján Popluhár and the second Czech holder of the Golden Ball, Pavel Nedvěd. A number of congratulators appeared on the stage – the chairman of the Czech-Moravian Football Association, teammates from Dukla and the national team including functionaries, representatives of the Foundation of International Football Players, representatives of the Czech Olympians Club, Director Army Sports Centre Dukla and Chairman of the Dukla Praha Physical Training Club. The night came to a head as the statue of Josef Masopust Which team and individual awards do you value most? That is hard to say. I always won them in connection with my team-mates, because I would not achieve individual success without them. Therefore, I take these festivities as a tribute to our football generation. I take the Footballer of Century Award as an appreciation of my whole career (the poll took place in 2000). The Golden Ball was an accolade for performance primarily in Chile, and the credit for that goes to the whole Czechoslovak national team. You spent your most beautiful years playing football in Dukla and I enjoyed many successes with the Club. Dukla Praha currently leads the second league. Do you believe DUKLA will make it back to the first league some day? Dukla is the club of my heart. I live close to Juliska, and when I am home, I hardly miss any match. I would like to see Dukla come back too

Festivities involving a number of events

was unveiled, which was created in the studio of Josef Nálepa. Presentation of the Football player of the year 2010 award, which took place on February 8, 2011, in the Estates Theatre in Prague, particularly honoured the Czech football legend. Josef Masopust also received personal congratulations by one of the most famous football players in the history of Europe, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, the holder of the Golden Ball for the best European footballer in 1965 and the holder of bronze medal from 1966 world championship, where he was the top goalscorer. National Museum will open an exhibition called Josef Masopust and his football era. The book titled ”Fotbal jménem Masopust“ (Football named Masopust) is going to be reedited, as well as audio book directed by Jana Jiráň and a TV documentary. There will also be a football tournament in June 2011 named ”Legends 2011” and the bronze statue of Josef Masopust will be placed in front of the Juliska stadium.
by Ivana Roháčková

A short interview with Josef Masopust at the award night
Mr. Masopust, you are celebrating a grand anniversary that in fact became the greatest birthday party in the history of Dukla and indeed of the whole Czech football, how do you feel about that? It is excellent to live to see one’s eightieth birthday. My health is no longer in good shape, but life with wonderful football experiences was worth the strain. Thanks to football, I also gained a number of lifetime friends. And that is something money cannot pay for.

the first league and follow on the success our generation and following generations achieved. As a matter of fact, it used to spread the fame of our football all around the world. It would be useful for the whole Czech football. So I hope to see it go to the highest league. You played sixteen years for Dukla. Where would you transfer, had any other famous club canvassed you? If Slavia wanted me, I would have gone straightaway…, but no offer came up. And I stayed with Dukla, because I felt good there, there were excellent conditions for football and a great bunch of people. Do you recall when you first made money playing football? When I played shortly after the war in the A Team of the city of Most and we defeated Ústí nad Labem 3:1 in regional league and I scored two goals, I was returning home on a train.

A bloke with a hat full of banknotes and coins approached me and poured them into my lap. I was the eldest of six children and I put the money on the table for my mommy: ”Mom, this is from football, for you not to swear at me anymore because of the ball. How do you like the celebration of your eightieth birthday? In my view, it is even exa exaggerated. I am still l one of thousands of football otball players who represenesented Czechoslovakia, akia, and I believe such uch honours may be too much for one man.

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History
Ministry of Defence assisted on bringing to life another movie with a telling name: Lidice

A Fateful STORY
A man nervously holds cold steel under his coat. He shuffles his feet several times and here it comes. An open-top Mercedes car comes down the road carrying the most feared men in the Protectorate, Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich. Josef Gabčík hurls away his coat, makes several quick steps for the road, pulls the trigger and gets dumbfounded by endless silence. The other man of the inseparable couple enters the scene already. Jan Kubiš, exactly as he rehearsed in a training center in Scotland, throws the explosive following an arch onto the car. He is too close to get away without any injury. The strong explosion stuns him for a second. He feels the shockwave slapping him in the face.
It is unusual, but this particular scene of assassination of the Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich was only shot a month before premiere show of the new Czech-Polish movie Lidice. The reason was simple. Originally the scene was omitted in the shooting schedule for a lack of funding. But sponsors were additionally found to contribute funds for it to come into being. “Following consultations with our U.S. distributor, we decided to take this unconventional step. We want the movie to be comprehensible to the global audience who may not have familiarity with European historical events, and Lidice movie will get an extra action-like and grander dimension,“ Adam Dvořák, the movie producer, explained somewhat unusual approach. Because the original bend where the assassination took place in Kobylisy on May 27, 1942, no longer exists, the filmmakers sought best-matching exterior based on contemporary photographs. In the end, they selected Hoffmanova Street in Prague Podolí. The movie is based on a novel by Zdeněk Mahler, the Nokturno, which won the 2007 best unrealised script award. It took nearly a decade to finish the script. There were several directors planned for the film, for example Miloš Forman or Alice Nellis, but she fell ill and so Petr Nikolajev eventually took up the challenge. It is historical drama building on cruel personal destinies of common people, inhabitants of the central bohemian community of Lidice. Key characters are played by Karel Roden, Zuzana Fialová, Zuzana Bydžovská, Roman Luknár, Veronika Kubařová, Norbert Lichý and Milan Kňažko. The theme song ”Slunce bylo krásné” is performed by Lucie Bílá. “Filmgoers may look forward to a grand historical movie full of emotions, love and betrayal. But it is not a mass movie, it is primarily a human story. It covers in-depth the destinies of individuals who caused the events or were somehow tossed about by the history,“ Adam Dvořák explains. ”The movie is rather dedicated to a younger audience. The older audience in my view is rather familiar with history, but younger people find it harder to get close to these matters. In history classes, these events were presented as a canon. Nevertheless, we should forget there are concrete people behind every story. I am confident that all watchers will find their bit. Those older ones will see what they might have imagined differently. Before reading the script, I understood these matters differently myself.“ The movie also came into being thanks to sponsorship by the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. But it was not the only contribution the MoD has made as military history specialists provided useful advice. ”Ministry of Defence has been with the movie from its inception. It was not just the case of financial support; the MoD also provided an extensive know-how. I had the first footage of Lidice from MoD archives. I had a chance to see raw archive documents Germans shot about the annihilation of Lidice. Eduard Stehlík of the Institute of Military History Prague helped us both through advice and consultations. He likes to coin it he is a friend on the phone. Anytime we are at our wits’ end about something, it just takes dialling his number and we have instant expert help available. I am glad that he has an eye for those disputable matters; in my view he is the greatest expert for Lidice,“ Adam Dvořák expands. A peculiar movie character is sentenced murdered Šíma (in reality František Saidl) impersonated by Karel Roden. Ironically this criminal who had killed his own son was one of the few to survive Lidice slaughter. During the assassination of Heydrich he was in jail and returned into his home community after being released in December 1942. And he did not have a slightest clue that the community had not existed for half a year. This tragic story revived thanks to the film is very likely to be continued. As a matter of fact, Saidl’s granddaughter contacted us during the shooting, whose memories have never been published before.

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“We observed historical events whenever possible. We shot in the Spanish Hall at the Prague Castle, where it was thoroughly authentic. But not everything is possible, Lidice does not exist anymore. We will never be a documentary. We at least sought not to provoke in historical terms. I believe we succeeded in that respect,“ Adam Dvořák concludes.

Authors say filmgoers may look forward to a movie full of emotions. But emotions do not necessarily need to be just laughter, as is the case with comedies. Movies differ from TV production in the fact that the audience may experience

emotions and sentiment right in the movie hall. During which sort of expurgation occurs...
by Vladimír Marek Photos by author and the production team

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