ORLLAN/ORLANE, Kosovo — Kosovo Forces soldiers from Multinational Battle Group East and MNBG Center shared training, Aug. 9, during a joint patrol on the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) east of Prishtine/Pristina, Kosovo.
Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment soldiers traveled to MNBG C to crosstrain with Swedish army Bravo Coy soldiers’ and familiarize themselves with the Swedish area of operation. The U.S. infantrymen are members of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard and are deployed to Kosovo for the KFOR 13 rotation. They are based out of Camp Bondsteel as part of MNBG E.
The Alpha Company soldiers have been in Kosovo a short time, having arrived in early July, so they’ve taken part in only a few ABL patrols, east of Gnjilane/Gjilan, Kosovo. Their Swedish counterparts have been conducting these patrols for several months.
Swedish army 1st Lt. Christopher Johansson, Stockholm, Sweden, spoke to a group of key enlisted soldiers and officers from the U.S. contingent about procedures, past experiences, and how to react to certain situations. The information he shared is based on the experience he and his fellow Swedes have gathered during their time in Kosovo.
“We made sure we hand over as much of the information we have collected during our time to them personally.” Johansson said. “We have conducted patrols with Serbian Armed Forces (SAF) and Kosovo Border and Boundary Police (KBBP) by working together to help interrupt illegal activities on the ABL.”
He also said that sharing this type of information will be beneficial for the KFOR 13 troops, whose battle group officially took authority in eastern Kosovo about two weeks prior to the training with the Swedes in MNBG C.
Army 1st Lt. Whesley Sepulveda, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, 1st platoon leader, Alpha Co., 1st Bn., 296th Infantry Regiment participated in the training and has completed ABL patrols in MNBG E’s area of responsibility.
“We are working with the Swedish, who are very professional," said Sepulveda. "They were showing us their procedures and sharing their experiences."
Planning patrols is a joint effort among KBBP, SAF, and KFOR. These entities work together to determine which areas illegal activities are occurring and sent patrol time and dates. Cattle and wood smuggling are the most common illegal activities encountered by the KBBP and SAF.
Sepulveda said that although he has done only a few patrols, he has noticed a lot of similarities while training with the Swedish in MNBG C, such as cooperating with KBBP and SAF, and monitoring and reporting illegal activities.