Saturday 17 August 2013

2007-Meeting in Buenos Aires

 - Eduardo C. Gerding  -

Thus, between March 23 and April 10, 2007 a similar meeting was organized in Buenos Aires with the same flame lit than Nottingham. They were no less than 25 years of the Malvinas Conflict and this aroused a lot of memories. Mike Seear, author of With the Gurkhas in the Falklands. A War Journal, Pen and Sword Books, 2003 and coauthor of Hors de Combat Book: The Falkland Islands Conflict Twenty five years on, Zoilus Press, 2007, attended the meeting. There were as well Professor Lars Weisaeth and his wife Brit who is currently Director of the Center of Excellence Special Educational Support System of the Norwegian State.

After Mike Seear meeting with Brigadier General Menendez, Cliff Caswell (reporter) and Steve Dock (photographer) of the British Army magazine Soldier interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Tomás Fox (Argentine Army), who directed the artillery fire of their 155-mm guns against the Gurkhas on 10- 12 June 1982. The reception held at the Military Circle was organized by Lieutenant (Ret) Jorge Pérez Grandi.


Hors de combat, literally means "out of combat" and is a French term used in diplomacy and international law referred to soldiers who can not fulfill their military duties. e.g: these include downed pilots, the sick, wounded, prisoners and disabled. The laws of war state that should be given special protection and sometimes even grant them the status of prisoners of war.

Mike Seear and Lieutenant Colonel Tomas Fox
Mike Seear and Lieutenant Colonel Tomas Fox (Argentine Army)
As Captain Fox was the Artillery Liaison Officer with the 4th Regiment of Infantry. His
mission was to coordinate fire support to that unit. Battery chief of this material was the
1st Lt. Luis Alberto Daffunchio.
Hors de Combat
Soldier Magazine

Argentine Army Sofía cannon , 155mm L33 Model 1977
Argentine Army Sofía cannon , 155mm L33 Model 1977

Mrs Brit Weisaeth
Mrs Brit Weisaeth who is currently Director of the Centre of Excellence Special
Educational Support System of the Norwegian State. Photograph: Dr EC Gerding

On Sunday March 25th a meeting was an interactive reunion at Hotel Anexo del Centro Naval with the assistance of the Admirals (Ret) Carlos Alberto Büsser and Carlos Hugo Robacio. That evening I also organized a meeting with the Warrant Officer 1 (Ret) Elvio Angel Cuñe , Marine Corps Warrant Officer 2 (Ret) Luis Jorge Lucero and the the 81 mm Mortar Group conscripts of the Argentine Marine Corps 5th Battalion. 
Mike Seear told the group: "You were the best unit ". 
Then the former conscript Luis Montivero asked, "How could you know we were the best unit? ". 
Seear replied, "Because we had an intelligence service and we knew as well you were Marines and it´s a world-known fact that the Marines are the best unit combat ". 

2007-Meeting in Buenos Aires
Seated from left to right: Rear Admiral (Ret) Carlos H. Robacio †., the 81 mm Mortar
Group conscripts of the Argentine Marine Corps 5th Battalion , Mike Seear, Warrant
Officer 1 (Ret) Elvio Angel Cuñe and Marine Corps Warrant Officer 2 (Ret) Luis Jorge

Lucero. Photograph: Dr EC Gerding

Mike Seear and the the 81 mm Mortar Group conscripts
Mike Seear and the the 81 mm Mortar Group conscripts of the Argentine Marine Corps
5th Battalion. Photograph: Dr EC Gerding.

Rear Admiral (Ret) Carlos H. Robacio †
Rear Admiral (Ret) Carlos H. Robacio †. Photograph: Dr EC Gerding
In 1990 Robacio was awarded the Legion of Merit Commander Degree by the United
States Armed Forces.

Mike Seear and Rear Admiral (Ret) Carlos Alberto Büsser †
Mike Seear and Rear Admiral (Ret) Carlos Alberto Büsser †. Büsser was the
commander of Argentine forces during Operation Rosario, the amphibious operation
that took the Falkland Islands in 1982, and forced the surrender of their Governor, Rex
Hunt. Photograph: Dr EC Gerding

The next day Profesor Lars Weisaeth gave a lecture on The operational mental health before, during and after the conflict, at the Sala Juan Cuatricasas, John Fitzgerald Kennedy University chaired by the Dean of Psychology Dr. Hector Fischer.

Professor Weisaeth mentioned the most common mistakes people make when interacting with veterans underlining two factors:

  • a) The posttraumatic growth meaning the implementation war veterans do of the experience learned through war. There are however,small groups of veterans who do not capitalize experiences from crisis
  • b) Existential Authority meaning the lack of respect that war veterans may demonstrate to his superiors (both civil and military) by the mere fact that they were not involved in the combat. By acting in this way, the war veteran generates in those around him the perception that somehow he is is a threat to the organization to which he belongs thus causing his sacking (sometimes in an objectionable way).

With regard to conflict Afghanistan / Iraq Weisaeth professor offered the following:

Professor Weisaeth concluded his presentation with the following summary for future conflicts:

  • The need for awareness of historical lessons learned on the battlefield.
  • Balancing the need for the organization with the clinical needs of the individual.
  • The fighter must perceive the significance of the war in which he is taking part.
  • Note should be taken on the role of the media and public support for the war that is being waged.
  • The need to address and involve families in the area; inform them.
  • When military personnel are appointed abroad correct any alarming information that may be published by the media.
  • Work proactively to reduce the stigma of mental disorders systems integrating physical and mental assistance for veterans.
Gustavo Sierra (Clarin newspaper) and Ms. Maria Elena Polak (La Nación newspaper) interviewed Mike Seear and Lars Weisaeth at home.

The Women´s Forum
On March 28, coordinated by Ms. Maria Fra Amador, Rear Admiral Robacio and Major Seear were introduced to the Women's Forum. The meeting was attended by about the most important 100 women of Argentina (ambassadors, professionals, journalists, etc.) led by its President, Ms. Marcela Miguens. Three Argentine Army war veterans conscripts : Germán Estrada, Esteban Pinto (Battle of Mount Williams) and Juan Casanegra offered their experience.
Women´s Forum. Buenos Aires - Argentina
Women´s Forum. . Photograph: Dr EC Gerding

Professor Weisaeth mentioned the fact that many wives are not aware that the man who returned from the war is not the same they got married. He also said that some wives should receive medals for courage in trying to keep their marriage afloat. Mike Seear met later with Marine Corps Captain Omar Miño (Battle of Tumbledown) and Lieutenant (Ret) Oruezabala Marcelo, who revealed interesting aspects of the confrontation.
Lieutenant (Ret) Marcelo Oruezabala, Mike Seear and Captain Omar Miño
From Left to Right: Lieutenant (Ret) Marcelo Oruezabala, Mike Seear and Captain
Omar Miño. During the Conflict Midshipman Oruezabala was the Commander of
BIM5`s 2nd Platoon and Captain Miño as Acting Sub-Lieutenant was Platoon
commandder of Marine Amphibious Engineers Photograph: Dr EC Gerding

On March 29, our guests had a reception in General Roca (Córdoba) sponsored by Mrs. Maria Isabel Bruno Clausen. Later they were offered a exhibition at the National Museum of the Malvinas War in Oliva (Córdoba). Before leaving Mike Seear could hear testimony from veterans conscripts Bernardo Dobrenic (Air Force) and Hugo Francisco Villarreal (Argentine Army).

On April 2 our guests witnessed the events commemorating the Malvinas Conflict in Buenos Aires. The same was broadcast live to the UK by BBC journalists Judy Fladmark and Jack Izzard. While he couldn´t come to Buenos Aires, Professor Bernard McGuirk was present through his article " They thought it was a small war" published by Clarin magazine on March 31st..

As in Nottingham the meeting was a total success. We know that we will never abandon our concept of sovereignty over the Malvinas and if we were called back to serve our Nation we would do it a thousand times. 
At times Malvinas seems to be a Gordian knot. However it is also worth  recalling once again the words of General William Tecumseh Sherman (U.S. Civil War) led in 1880 to the cadets of the Military Academy: "War is hell".