LEPOSAVIC/LEPOSAVIQ, Kosovo -- Greek soldiers from Multinational Battle Group North relinquished security duties at Camp Nothing Hill to Polish and U.S. Soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East during a ceremony here, Oct. 11.
The Greek soldiers spent four weeks at Camp Nothing Hill where they served as the area's Quick Reaction Force. Their QRF responsibilities included responding to any situation in Kosovo in a very short amount of time. KFOR’s role as a QRF is as a third responder, behind the Kosovo Police and the European Union Rule of Law Mission.
In addition to holding QRF responsibilities, the Greek soldiers also conducted patrols in neighboring cities and near the Administrative Boundary Line with Serbia, and maintained security at Gate 1 along the ABL.
“This has been a very good experience working with local municipalities, the KP and EULEX in this wonderful area,” said Greek army Capt. Ioannis Goulgoutis, commander of the outgoing Greek soldiers.
The incoming company of Polish soldiers, commanded by Polish army Capt. Piotr Skowlmowski, will now be responsible for the duties previously performed by the Greek soldiers.
“We are now responsible for this area north of MNBG North’s base,” said Skowlmowski. “We’ll be conducting patrols, handling QRF responsibilities and monitoring Gate 1.”
Skowlmowski added that he is very confident in his soldiers and their ability to accomplish any mission they are faced with while at Nothing Hill.
“We trained for several months in Poland to prepare for this deployment, before joining the U.S. troops in Germany for more training,” Skowlmowski said. “We are completely ready to handle this mission.”
A platoon of U.S. Soldiers from MNBG E will join the Polish soldiers for the stay at Camp Nothing Hill. These U.S. infantrymen are Puerto Rico National Guard members who are stationed at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo as part of the KFOR 13 rotation.
“We’re here to give the Polish COY support as they take over responsibility of Nothing Hill,” said 1st Lt. Whesley Sepulveda, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, platoon leader, 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment, Puerto Rico National Guard. “Our role is to provide security for the base and the Polish soldiers will handle the surrounding areas.”
The ceremony, which signifies the transfer of authority from the Greek soldiers to the Polish and U.S. soldiers, involved the lowering of the Greek flag and the raising of the Polish and U.S. flags.
Following the raising and lowering of the flags, Danish Lt. Col. Jens Nyrup, deputy commander, MNBG N, addressed the soldiers that were assembled for the ceremony.
“Your presence here testifies KFOR’s interest and its capability to involve all units as a whole in the security of all of Kosovo’s inhabitants regardless of their communities,” Nyrup told the soldiers. “It shows KFOR’s ability to operate everywhere with impartiality.”
He then thanked the outgoing Greek soldiers for their hard work and dedication to their mission at Nothing Hill.
“Through your initiatives and your relevant understanding of the situation,” Nyrup told the Greek soldiers, “you did a great job and helped the Battle Group by always keeping the situation in this area in grip.”
Nyrup concluded the ceremony by addressing the incoming Polish and U.S. Soldiers and wishing them luck.
“No doubt you will face challenges,” he told them, “but I am sure that you will be present and capable of tackling the different tasks that come to you. Welcome and good luck to you. I hope you will enjoy your stay in this beautiful part of Kosovo.”