Catering for the multitude

Two Norwegians stand at the service desk on Day 3 of the exercise looking a little confused. They have heard that they are not on the list of participants and so have nowhere to stay. Behind the desk, Eva Geirtz and Ulla Reimers have a good chuckle and start to ring round to find beds – it is not the first time this has happened.

The most taxing challenge is to identify requirements at an early stage – knowing how much food and other items to order. Photo: Johan Ardefors

After a while it becomes evident that the Norwegians are on a “side list” and are taking part in an exercise experiment which is being run in parallel with the exercise itself.
“The start of the exercise, the first three days, is always a little difficult but that is only right and proper,” says Claes Bernhorn, Head of Host Nation Support in Kungsängen.

The application deadline for the exercise expired a month ago but applications are still coming in. At the same time there is a list of people who have not shown up. The most taxing challenge, according to Claes Bernhorn, is to identify requirements at an early stage – knowing how much food and other items to order and how many beds to find.

Preparations for VIKING 08 actually began as long ago as October 2006. Krister Bysell was on the job then and is now responsible for the coordination of logistics for the Kungsängen and Enköping sites.

“For VIKING 08 we have a total of 900 participants in Kungsängen and Enköping and it takes a huge amount of planning to get everything in order, and a whole lot of inspired guesswork about how many will actually be taking part and what their needs may be. Then there are two peak days. One was on Monday when almost everyone arrived, and the next will be the final day when we have to ensure that there are no problems with all the different transport requirements,” says Krister Bysell.