KFOR Chronicle
MNB East Change of Command
By Jason L. Austin

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo -- After nearly a month of training in Hohenfels, Germany, the 38th Infantry Division, from 19 different U.S. states, took command of the Multi-national Brigade (East) Kosovo Forces from the 34th Infantry Division Aug. 31.

Each U.S. Army unit rotating into the KFOR area of responsibility spends time in Hohenfels training with the 7th Army Training Command, and it's that training which outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. Rick Erlandson, credited for allowing his troops to quell violent rioting in March.

"To take an entire brigade of our size and transition them from steady-state operations to combating violence is a challenging task which requires the utmost in quality training," Erlandson said.

"We really do have great reserve soldiers coming from the United States which we take great pride in," said Gen. B.B. Bell, commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. "We train them before they get here at Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr. We watch over them with great consideration while they are here and we celebrate their successes that they have on these missions."


And success is what these Task Force Falcon Soldiers of the 34th were able to achieve during their six-month tour. Their accomplishments included more than 20,000 patrols, 4,000 vehicle checks, 5,000 accident-free flight hours and 19 medical evacuations. They also treated more than 3,000 Kosovars through the Medical Civilian Assistance Program, "You (34th Infantry Division soldiers) performed the mission to provide a safe and secure environment and assist in the transition to civil authorities," Erlandson said. "You have succeeded in each and every task and challenge that you were faced with and have done so with unprecedented dedication, professionalism and motivation."

This transfer of authority ceremony is "the 11th such transfer since 1999, and confirms the fact that NATO and America (is) continuing to support the United Nation's plan for Kosovo," said Brig. Gen. Tod Carmony, incoming commander.

Although the reserve troops fall under NATO control while in the KFOR area, they still rely on U.S. Army Europe for administrative control.
"We're responsible for all the administrative support for these soldiers," Bell said. "If they need finance help it's my problem. If there is any kind of normal routine help it's our responsibility in USAREUR."

The support and training the 38th receives will help them focus on their primary mission to ensure a safe and secure environment and transfer of control to civil authority.

"Our soldiers are dedicated and well trained; they will do their part," Carmony said. "But in the end it will be the good people of Kosovo, through their hard work and dedication, to construct a path toward a future of hope and prosperity."