NATO STABILIZATION FORCE
The Eurocorps experienced its first commitment in a NATO operation when the soldiers of the Staff and the Headquarters Support Battalion were deployed to Sarajevo in 1998. On 27th February 1998, the Eurocorps Common Committee decided to put a contingent of 150 Eurocorps service members at the disposal of the headquarters of the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) for 18 months in three successive rotations.
The first Eurocorps contingent arrived on 13th May 1998. The second and third rotation respectively stayed in Bosnia from January to June 1999 and from July to December 1999.
Beside to the increased media interest for the Eurocorps, the SFOR mission gave the headquarters and above all its personnel the required NATO experience for future missions.
NATO KOSOVO FORCE
On 28th January 2000, the North Atlantic Council accepted a proposal made by the five Eurocorps framework nations. The first Eurocorps commitment was also the first operation in which a European staff took the command of a NATO force.
The reconstruction phase in the province had to be started. The aim was to restore the fundamental structures in Kosovo. The tasks were huge: The UCK (Kosovo Liberation Army) had to be transformed, violence and organized crime were still raging, judicial structures and legislation were non-existent, a multi-ethnic police body had to be formed, the public health situation was concerning and the medical infrastructure had to be rebuilt. New municipal authorities were needed since the former ones had gone with the Yugoslavian authorities. This meant elections had to be organized.
The Commanding General Eurocorps and Commander KFOR in this six month period was Lieutenant General Juan ORTUÑO-SUCH (ESP).
From 9th August 2004 till 9th February 2005, Eurocorps took part in the ISAF VI (International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan) with its Staff and the French-German Brigade. The Eurocorps Staff provided more than half of the personnel strength of HQ ISAF.
The change of command between General Hillier (CAN) and General Py (FRA), Commanding General Eurocorps, took place on 9th August in Kabul.
The main effort at the beginning of the ISAF VI mission was to assist the Afghan authorities and the UN in organizing the presidential elections that took place on 9th October 2004. The second priority was to ensure the smooth unfolding of the ceremony for the inauguration of Mr Karzai, the newly elected president.
NATO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND ASSISTANCE FORCE (ISAF)
After an intensive preparation for the ISAF mission, the first wave of Eurocorps personnel, including Brigadier General Thierry Corbet and other Eurocorps key personnel flew from Ramstein to Kabul International Airport on 10th January 2012 in order to assume important posts within the International Joint Command (IJC).
The well-prepared and operationally minded EC personnel quickly got down into business and, throughout their deployment, gained respect for their professionalism and fully contributed to the IJC motto “make it matter”. Lieutenant General Olivier de Bavinchove (Commanding General Eurocorps and Chief of Staff ISAF) did indeed further enhance the « esprit de corps » of Eurocorps.
Two rotations of six months saw some 300 Eurocorps members serve in Afghanistan throughout 2012.