Garrison of Sør-Varanger
|Garrison of Sør-Varanger|
|Type||Long range reconnaissance patrol / border guard|
|Colors||Umbra green beret|
|Mascot||Vargen (the wolf)|
Jan Erik Haug
Garrison of Sør-Varanger (Norwegian: Garnisonen i Sør-Varanger, GSV) is a military camp of the Norwegian Army. It is located at Høybuktmoen in Sør-Varanger Municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The military camp sits adjacent to Kirkenes Airport, Høybuktmoen. The garrison is organized as a battalion and its main job is guard the 196-kilometer (122 mi) Norway–Russia border. It consists of the Training Company (GRKP/U), the Support Company (GAKP) and the Border Company (GRKP). The garrison also has an NCO school.
Service at GSV
The troops stationed at GSV mainly consists of conscripted soldiers. Most of the soldiers are men, but there is also an increasing amount of women. GSV receives about 400 new conscripts every six months.
The first seven weeks of recruit training, which is standard for all military personnel in Norway. After basic training, some of the soldiers are transferred to the garrison company to work in and around the garrison to support the education of the GRKP/u, the GRKP itself and the mission-solvance of the GSV border company.
The rest of the soldiers stay in the education company to become border guards. After six months, through basic training, advanced training and specialist/designated training, the soldiers are divided up and sent to one of the six border stations.
The border service requires physical and mental stamina, discipline and the ability to think, decide and initiate. The service requires individuals and units to operate independently. The soldiers deployed for border service are basically trained as reconnaissance rangers. Most of the time in the education company consist of field exercise, fire drills and role specialisation.
At the border, the soldiers are divided into four-man patrol teams. A typical patrol team consist of one patrol commander corporal, one communications technician, one medical specialist and one scout. Not assigned, but perfectly available for the teams are canine corporals, responsible for handling and training the patrol canines, and transportation corporals, responsible for mobility, administrative tasks and maintenance. In addition, a portion of the border guards are assigned with a dual role; reconnaissance and operations headquarters, they also serve as regular border guards.
The soldiers' main task is to function as border guards on the Russian border, guarding not only the border to a neighbouring country, but also the European border according to the Schengen Agreement. During wartime their task is to monitor enemy advance and gather intelligence on hostile movement, most likely during covert retreat southwards in Norway.
There is also a separate section of about 10-12 communications soldiers at the Garrison. These are trained by, and belong to the Norwegian Army Signals Corps and are trained at Jørstadmoen close to Lillehammer before they are assigned to GSV. These soldiers man the Main Signals Office (MSO), the operations room (OPS) and manage and maintain the encryption and communications security equipment used by the border stations.
From north to south:
In addition to the border stations, the checkpoint at Storskog is the only legal crossing point between Norway and Russia. This checkpoint is manned by Eastern Finnmark Police District, the Norwegian Customs and Excise Authorities, and the Norwegian Border Commission.
Treaty and sovereignty enforcement of the Norwegian border to Russia is a three-agency operation. The police district is responsible for prosecution, fines, and processing of illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, and border violations. The border commissioner is the policy-making and diplomatic department. It arranges contact and meetings with its Russian counterpart, makes agreements and rules, and is a substantial part of the diplomatic process. The garrison is responsible of military border patrol. The soldiers are granted police authority for border relations and is one of the few Norwegian law enforcement divisions carrying weapons and live ammunition on a daily basis.
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