• October 24, 2014

Multinational Battle Group-East transitions to Kosovo Force 18

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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:30 am

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — Nearly nine months after assuming command of Multinational Battle Group-East, the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade relinquished command to another U.S. Army active duty unit during a transfer of authority ceremony Thursday at Camp Bondsteel.

Fort Hood’s 504th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade took command of the battle group from the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, a similar Army unit based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Col. David J. Woods, commander of the 525th, transferred authority of to Col. Charles T. Hensley, commander of the 504th.

Woods said the distinct nature of the Kosovo Force mission was testing and always shifting, just as most peace support operations are throughout the Balkans.

“For me, working the (Kosovo Force) mission was unique. Peace support operations were always changing, and every day I was faced with a different challenge,” Woods said.

He continued by thanking his subordinate units and multinational partners, who helped him “find solutions to the challenges,” and positively projected their commitment to their countries, soldiers and the people of Kosovo.

Woods said the soldiers manning the Balkans 18 rotation would be a “dynamic team,” and expressed his confidence they would maintain the “high professional standards that come with being a member of this close-knit team.”

The commander for Kosovo Forces, Italian army Maj. Gen. Salvatore Farina, recited an extensive list of accomplishments made by the forces 17 rotation, including the formation of a fusion cell in the northern area of Kosovo, responding to 132 calls for assistance on unexploded ordnance, and completing more than 23 medical evacuation missions by helicopter.

More importantly, Farina noted, was that the soldiers of the rotation added to the increase of a safe and secure environment throughout Kosovo.

“Your presence and action greatly contributed to safe and secure environment and freedom of movement here in Kosovo,” Farina said. “These actions have all advanced the mission of (force) and benefited all the people of Kosovo immensely.”

Praising the next battle group commander, Farina said Hensley’s previous military assignments would be the “best prerequisites for a successful tour in this complex mission.”

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