An exercise under Western European Union command saw the deployment of Eurocorps’s Harpon Command Post to the black volcanic sand beaches of the Canary island of Lanzarote. As the first element in theatre, the command post started its humanitarian mission. After an airlift by Transall cargo planes, personnel and vehicles transported the tents and equipment to the staging area. After the build up, the satellite communication was tested and the link with Strasbourg established. The exercise was successful and demonstrated Eurocorps’s capacity to deploy its first command elements for a humanitarian relief mission.
Cobra was the nickname for “Petersberg” missions, humanitarian and peace keeping exercises. From 9th to 16th June 1997, the Eurocorps Headquarters deployed to Zaragoza (Spain). The movement of 4,700 soldiers and 1,500 vehicles started on 4th June.
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Headquarters Eurocorps as a whole settled down in the brand new buildings of the Military Academy of Vyškov (Czech Republic). The moral was extremely high: it was the first time Eurocorps had been solicited by NATO as Land Component Command (LCC) in the framework the Partnership for Peace program (PfP).
The HQ committed itself into the exercise and incorporated representatives from 27 European nations. The exercise covered the complex processes of fore rotations, setting up of the enabling force, creation and extension of the interposition zone, which was progressively extended into a demilitarized zone and finally in the beginning of the political-military transition phase.
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This exercise in the Cape Verde Islands was a highlight for Eurocorps in its preparations for NRF 7 and its role as Land Component Command (LCC). The Eurocorps successfully demonstrated its strategic deployment capability by moving personnel and equipment over a distance of about 4,700 km to the island of Saõ Vicente. The first forces arrived on the Cape Verde Islands on 20th May with the task of building a “town” in the middle of nowhere for the roughly 2,500 troops participating in the exercise. The last elements of our corps left the island on 15th July. In addition to meeting the demands and challenges of the exercise, cooperating with the local authorities and establishing good relations with the local people – as in a real operation – were critical. LCC soldiers also provided assistance in removing obsolete and surplus ammunition as well as repairing of civilian and military infrastructure.