Blogs from East, Kosovo, Europe

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Europe » Kosovo » East July 11th 2010

I can’t hardly believe that in an hour I will be loading my bags and heading for the Pristina International Airport. Yippee! Once again, me and my buddy are heading to Camp Atterbury to prepare both logistically and administratively for the return of the masses of KFOR 12. Doctors, Lawyers, Headquarters Staff Members and the hard working Soldier on the street will all be heading home sometime soon also. But for now it’s just three of us. All said and done, nearly 800 soldiers will return back to 34 states and territories, hopefully by August KFOR 12 will be all but a memory. Families will be happy to have their loved ones home, Soldiers will be happy to be back on US soil, and all of us will have memories of significance that will keep ... read more
Anything for a child!

Europe » Kosovo » East June 30th 2010

Today we drove through the rolling hills and passed the familiar mountains that linger on both sides of the border. Usually I can describe Kosovo as a giant image of poor peasants and scenes of prior combat that has left destruction in its wake. But today, the scenery was stunning as we passed through the small villages. It would have been nice to remain in my dreamy stooper, but I was driving and around one of those long and winding corners we suddenly popped into the bustling city of Gnjilane. Horns honking, cross walks full of pedestrians with places to go and parking spots at a premium. The cars (kind of) follow some resemblance of traffic laws, while the same rowdy rules apply for the traffic circles. I have yet to take off someone else’s bumper, ... read more
The 3 of us happy after our dining experience
Dobie helping the street vendor sell eggs
My half pint interpreter

Europe » Kosovo » East June 27th 2010

As we were following behind our tour guide outside the gates of Camp Bondsteel, I was deeply excited to finally be taking this journey. It is the one venture that I have wanted to do since we found out we were deploying to Kosovo over two years ago, and today is the day. As we were driving towards the Kosovo-Macedonia border, he was in the front vehicle with his interpreter and every time we passed something of interest he would describe it over the radio. “On your right is the parcel of land that the Albanians come to and prepare their sheep for market. Down that little road is where the building burned down that was owned by Kosovo criminals. This small village is all Serbians and that village is all Albanians.” On and on he ... read more
Steeples of the Church of the Black Madona
Small reunion with my soldiers from tour in Iraq.  (He was our tour guide!)
View from the church

Europe » Kosovo » East June 17th 2010

It’s not every day that I get to travel to the Republic of Macedonia, in fact this was the first time and guaranteed to be the last. Incredibly we are located very close to the border and for business purposes we can cross over, but really can’t be hanging around. As we started on our journey the skies were overcast, so when we drove along the streets of Kosovo it was easy to notice the dingy, dirty trash laden sides of the pot holed roads. The gray sky did nothing to enhance the beautiful country side, as the many shades of greens that are usually reflected in the grasses and trees just seemed to get lost by the ever present signs of destruction. We were traveling with an interpreter who was more than eager to explain ... read more
If I were a smuggler I suppose I should declare my goods!
The look of a modern city
Dobie and I on the Varda River

Europe » Kosovo » East June 14th 2010

It’s the day all good soldiers wait for…Packing for the trip home. Yup HOME! Now don’t get too excited because we still have time here in Kosovo but the redeployment process has begun. It’s seems quite simple but there are many steps to do until mission complete. For the past few days most of us have been digging through our drawers, emptying closets and rummaging through our personal belongings and separating them into very deliberate piles. This pile goes into the big green tote, that pile is for the giant ruck sack and then there is a pile for the ever familiar duffle bag. Army gear over here, civilian stuff neatly folded up and then the miscellaneous pieces of things that we have collected since landing in Kosovo. Now there are many ways to pack. Some ... read more
Good paperwork is the key to success
Gotta even pack our little travel friends!
Putting away everything after the inspection

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Europe » Kosovo » East June 11th 2010

Sometimes Soldiers are afforded the most incredible opportunities, or maybe there are those once in a lifetime moments that are impossible to revisit ever again. This trip for a very few would fall into that catagory. With moments of faith and memories that will forever run deep, I am unable to capture the essence of this journey. I would like to share with you an article written by one of our Public Affairs Specialists who attended this special pilgramage. I hope you enjoy his words and visual expression. Story by Spc. Chris Erickson, 116th Public Affairs Detachment KFOR Soldiers make military pilgrimage to Lourdes LOURDES, France - Kosovo Forces Soldiers recently put down their weapons and picked up their crosses. The Soldiers were among thousands of troops who traveled to Lourdes, France for the 52nd Annual ... read more
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Europe » Kosovo » East May 31st 2010

“Ironman”…Traditionally a test of endurance through the likes of swimming, biking and running. Not here in Kosovo. We have created our own rules, or own games and our own contestants. The crowd gathered by the gym, hundreds of soldiers just to watch the afternoon activities. The Polish competing against the soldiers from North Dakota, the army women against the Turks, the LMT’s against the Defenders. What a show we were to see, the energy was contagious and spirits were high. The tire roll started the games. The “Ironman Games”! The teams had to work together to get a rhythm, lift..heave..flip..push. In many languages you could hear grunts, yelling at each other for motivation and cheering when victory fell upon them. The crowd would keep a constant chant, it didn’t matter which team was doing the task, ... read more
Poland working the tire
Sandbags for the princess
Pulling the hummer with all their might

Europe » Kosovo » East May 31st 2010

And it played…The most somber of bugle calls. TAPS...The end to our day. The end to this day, Memorial Day. A day set aside to remember those who have fought and died for the freedom our country so enjoys. Only 24 notes total. It was played by both the Union and Confederate Armies to signify the end of the day, in a time when our country was so young, so determined and so resilient. Sometimes I wish that everyone would just stop and honor America's fallen heroes on Memorial Day, not as a gesture endorsing any national views and its current political or economic policy, but in honor of brave men and women who gave their lives for others. It’s personal... Memorial Day is not about picnics and ballgames. There have been so many brave Soldiers, ... read more

Europe » Kosovo » East May 28th 2010

I was gone most of the month of May but came back to Camp Bondsteel to be part of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Nice part about being in the military is that all special occasions are not only celebrated but education is encouraged and we have been schooled every month on a different topic. Our equal opportunity representatives along with the MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) specialist have done a terrific job in assisting us and creating cultural awareness to include Black History Month and Womens History. This month we celebrated Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States and in true military fashion we had a celebration! I know that May was originally chosen by President George H. Bush because it marks the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States ... read more
Sno-Cone Anyone?
A low limbo bar!
Happy Military Police

Europe » Kosovo » East May 23rd 2010

Now I haven’t quite decided if that’s a good thing or not. While at Camp Atterbury Indiana when we were out-processing nearly 600 soldiers to return to their homes, it was bittersweet, as we knew that after they left we would be returning to duty here in Kosovo in a matter of days. So we really tried to not get used to the creature comforts of the United States. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy the treasures we were afforded in our few weeks in Indiana. MILK…Yes, real MILK! That had to of been the best! Every day, it was milk on the cereal, milk with our subway sandwich and milk with our steak. I just couldn’t drink enough of it. At Camp Bondsteel all they have is some form of liquid that pretends to be milk, ... read more
Day time clouds rolling in
Darkness comes in all forms




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