European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 1 1999, Page 3

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 1, 1999, Darmstadt, Hesse Learning the tricks of the peacekeeping Trade 3rd brigade shown the ropes from outgoing 2nd brigade by Jon r. Anderson Macedonia Bureau in the . Sector Kosovo a two platoon leaders walk together through the night like camouflaged ghosts in a Sou like fog. Up and Down the dark misty Street their soldiers also walk paired together. First it. Thomas Buchholz is showing 1st it. Nathan self the ropes. Their soldiers whispering do likewise As they patrol the serb Village in this Eastern portion of the . Peacekeeping sector of Kosovo. A this alleyway Here cuts into the main part of town a Buchholz tells self both Clad in heavy flak vests and Kevlar helmets and seeming oblivious to the sub freezing temperatures. For More than five months Buchholz and the 23. Infantrymen of 3rd platoon Charlie company a part of the 1st battalion 26th infantry regiment from Schwein Furt Germany a have done their Best to keep the peace in Kosovo. Although they be worked throughout the . Sector these Days they Call Home an unfinished two Story House on the outskirts of the serb Village of Pas Jane. But not for Long. Soon return to Germany their tour of duty Here Complete. But first self and his 23 infantrymen will Shadow Buchholzz a outgoing platoon for four Days picking up everything they can on the tricks of the peacekeeping seat ride like policemen showing new cops the beat the idea is to first let the new arrivals see How things Are done a sitting in the proverbial right seat a and then after a few Days let them take charge with the old hands watching in the background offering advice when needed. In fact its what officials Call the a right seat left seat ride a and its a scene that will repeat itself during the coming weeks at virtually every level of the . Peacekeeping Effort Here As the 1st infantry division swaps out its two european based brigades the outgoing 2nd brigade is being relieved by the incoming 3rd brigade even the . Commander Brig Gen. Craig Peterson is passing the Baton. Brig Gen. Rick Sanchez will take Over what has been dubbed task Force Falcon on dec. 12 at the heavily fortified Camp Bondsteel. Both men also serve As the Deputy commanders for the 1st infantry division. Sanchez was to arrive in Kosovo on wednesday to begin his own 12-Day right seat left seat ride. Heating one of several fat three ring binders scattered around his spartan office inside Bondsteel Sanderson stars and stripes first it. Thomas self signs paperwork transferring responsibility for gear and combat vehicles at the Small peacekeeping outpost in Parjani Kosovo in the far East portion of the . Peacekeeping sector. Headquarters compound Peterson says his goal is to pass on to Sanchez a the reasoning behind every decision in be made Here. He May not agree with every decision but at least hell understand Why i made the Binder labelled a transition smart Book a is one of Many that will help in that process. But he says it is the new troops spending Quality time with the outgoing peacekeepers that really makes the difference in a successful hand off. And that holds True whether that Soldier is at Bond steel where the brass gather daily for their meetings and strategy sessions or in the cities villages and hamlets where the peace must be in place a a we re trying to create the conditions for Success a Peterson says. A if not there a a dip in performance and in a Mission like this you can to afford a officials Are tight lipped with the specifics of the a Transfer of authority a As the Swap out is officially called. Citing Security concerns they wont say exactly How Many troops Are coming and going and key dates Are kept quiet. A this is still a dangerous place a says it. Col Nick Wager an operations officer for Falcon. Attacks Between ethnic factions in Kosovo continue. A people Are still willing to engage each other a he said adding a and at times for a its no secret however that nearly the entire division will be involved a either coming or going a in the coming weeks. And while exact timelines Arentt discussed division officials say homeward bound troops will make it Back by Christmas despite delays caused by president Clinton a recent visit to Greece and anti nato riots there. Wager the new chief of plans for task Force Falcon who recently completed his own hand off with his outgoing counterpart described the transition or As strategists Call it a a a Relief in place a As one of the toughest jobs any unit can be asked to do. A it s a huge Deal. The Relief in place is one of the most complicated military missions there that a because the Mission must continue while the hand off is under Way. Taking a Page from the Bosnia playbook much of that Effort will be made easier by leaving the Lions share of heavy military hardware in place. Everything from radios and generators to Bradley fighting vehicles and my Abrams tanks will be signed Over to the new units As they arrive. Normally units keep their own War gear As they go to and from various missions but officials Hope to save both Money and Elbow grease by leaving the equipment in place a As a kind of heavy Metal rental Yard a As units begin what will Likely be continuous series of rotations into off Back from their patrol self and Buchholz go Over the paperwork signing Over the millions of dollars Worth of gear a including two humvee and four Bradley fighting vehicles. Their new Home in Pas Jane is rough by any Standard. The Bare Bone cinder lock House with exposed wires and plywood Walls installed by Navy Seabee sits inside a Circle of razor Sharp concertina wire. A Blue port a potty serves As a cold outhouse sitting next to one of the armoured fighting vehicles. Signing off the paperwork that makes self responsible for the House and gear the 24-year-old officer is now for Lack of any formal ceremony in the Drivers seat. A a they re going to do a great Job Quot Buchholz says. A they be caught on Quick a and where the old soldiers of previous conflicts might have called these new arrivals Quot fresh meat or a newbies a Buchholz has different names for them. A they Are our Christmas present and a very big email Jon Anderson pushing for . Peacekeepers to receive combat Patch Camp Bondsteel Kosovo a the commander of . Peacekeepers in Kosovo has recommended that soldiers serving in the troubled yugoslav province be awarded the coveted right shoulder combat Patch. A i think its richly deserved a said task Force Falcon com Unander Brig. Gen. Craig Peterson in an interview monday at the command Center in the .-patrolled sector of Kosovo. A my argument for approval is that soldiers have been involved in hostile fire now for five months. They have been fired on they. Have been wounded. It meets All the criteria for a right shoulder a. A worn on both combat fatigues and dress uniforms the combat Patch has Long identified soldiers who have served in harms Way. Soldiers who earn the award which is the unit Patch of whatever outfit they served in while under hostile fire Are authorized to Wear the Patch for the rest of their careers. Meanwhile officials also have recommended that soldiers who served with task Force Hawk in Albania be allowed to Wear the combat Patch. The helicopter and rocket launching task Force a which included a battalion of 82nd airborne troops and a contingent of heavy forces from Germany a was sent to Albania during the 78-Day nato air War against Yugoslavia but it was not used in combat. According to . Army Europe officials a waiver for the hostile fire requirement still is being considered at Usa eur before being sent to army officials in Washington who must approve both requests. If approved the combat Patch would be the first awarded to soldiers serving in Balkans peacekeeping operations. After nearly four years of peacekeeping in Bosnia soldiers there have not received the combat Patch according to a Usa eur spokesman. Peterson said he was not recommending that infantrymen serving in Kosovo be awarded the prestigious combat infantryman badge called the a Mark of the Many by Many grunts a or simply a a the Gib a the badge is an award to infantrymen a who have exchanged fire with the enemy a Peterson said. Because belligerents inside Kosovo cannot technically be called an a enemy a Peterson explained a we do not meet that meanwhile us and nato officials Are considering two other awards for troops involved in Kosovo the first would be a a Kosovo Campaign medal for All . Military personnel involved in Kosovo peacekeeping operations said v corps spokeswoman Hilde Patton. Us. Army Gen Henry h. Shelton chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is expected to make the final decision for that award soon nato nations recently approved the award of the a Onato medal for Kosovo operations. The defense department is considering whether . Soldiers would be allowed to Wear the medal. Jon Randerson u Mij argument for approval is that soldiers have been involved in hostile fire now for five months. They have been fined on they have been wounded it meets All the criteria for a right Shouder it Brig Gen Craig Peterson task Force Falcon commander

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