CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E) Soldiers tested their capacity to react quickly during exercises near the border with the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and outside Viti/Vitina on June 22.
Soldiers from MNBG E’s Bravo Company, 2nd Platoon, recently took over Quick Reaction Force (QRF) duties from MNBG E’s Turkish Soldiers. The exercises were designed to validate their ability to respond to emergencies across MNBG E area of operations, said Maj. Shayne Simon, the exercise planner for MNBG E.
The exercise on the FYROM border was also designed to demonstrate KFOR’s capability to act in response to suspected smuggling, said Simon.
"There have been reports of smuggling activity in the area," he said. "We’re showing the people in the local region that KFOR can react any place, any time."
The scenario for the exercise involved Turkish Soldiers manning an observation point on the border witnessing simulated smuggling taking place. The Soldiers called back to Camp Bondsteel, which activated the QRF platoon to respond in movement to the site.
The platoon was allowed one hour to move from Camp Bondsteel to the exercise location. The Bravo Soldiers left Camp Bondsteel in 45 minutes and arrived at the site 72 minutes after the notification to respond was received, said Simon.
Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, MNBG E’s commanding general, and seven journalists from Kosovo were on hand to witness the QRF exercise along the FYROM border. Once the QRF platoon arrived, two patrols were sent out to try to interdict the simulated smugglers. Dohrmann and the Kosovo journalists went along with a patrol on a demanding hike over the border’s hilly terrain.
"We have had a series of exercises to demonstrate, to validate, our capability to be agile, mobile and to reinforce wherever our services are needed," Dohrmann told the journalists. " I think through these exercises we have shown we are able to respond anywhere, anytime with a robust force if there is a need for us to do so."
After wrapping up the morning exercise, the QRF platoon returned to Camp Bondsteel, to await their next call. This came in the afternoon, when the platoon was called out to respond by air to a simulated car accident involving a KFOR vehicle near Viti/Vitina.
Under the afternoon scenario, a Kosovo civilian sustained serious injuries in the mock accident, causing an upset crowd to gather. The KFOR Soldiers called Camp Bondsteel for help, which prompted the Battle Desk to call out the QRF platoon.
The Bravo Company QRF platoon responded quickly to the call, leaving Camp Bondsteel in 32 minutes and arriving at the site aboard UH60 Blackhawk helicopters in 18 minutes. They secured the site quickly, launching back to Camp Bondsteel in less than 15 minutes.
"Every QRF exercise we execute, we do a ground operation and an air operation, "said Simon. "Our QRF was mobilized by air to secure the site and make communication back to the Battle Desk. This task showed their ability to mobilize from Camp Bondsteel to a remote location."
Multinational Battle Group East is a U.S- led task force commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This Battle Group is comprised of nearly 1,200 Soldiers, including Greece, Poland, Ukraine, and Turkey. The charter mission of MNBG E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo.
Please contact the MNBG E Public Affairs office for media engagements or to follow-up on this information.
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