Blogs from Kosovo, Europe - page 4


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

Europe » Kosovo June 13th 2010

13 Jun 10 Km so far: 2035 Left Skopje with 2.5 litres of Rakija (home made) and a bottle of Macedonian red, gifts from our incredibly generous hosts in the Villa Vorda. Short drive to the Kosovan border. Once again had to buy local car insurance (€35) but no snags and took less than 20 minutes to cross. Some signs of recent conflict with the KFOR presence but overall the impression as we drove north towards Pristina was of a massive reconstruction programme. Also a big change from the mountains of Macedonia to more or less flat plains in Kosovo. Pristina itself is not a beautiful city but it has an air of optimism. Had lunch in a very trendy café and wandered around to see the various sights, including the whacky National Art Gallery, accurately ... read more
Old and new in Pristina

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

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

Europe » Kosovo » East May 18th 2010

And did they arrive…Two planes filled with hundreds of soldiers each arrived 9 minutes apart. Thank goodness the second plane taxied on the runway for a few minutes. Generals were everywhere, some from California, a couple from Kansas and North Dakota even rounded up a few to come and welcome the soldiers home. It’s always nice to be a soldier and to step off the plane and there is a line of high ranking officers and soldiers from your home state to shake your hand and tell you “Welcome Back, thanks for serving your country!” The buses were standing by and swept the first batch of soldiers off to Camp Atterbury and due to the lack of logistical assets, the second group of 300 hundred soldiers had to just hang around the airport for a couple ... read more
Passing the time!
Unloading bags for the last time
One tired soldier!

Europe » Kosovo » East May 16th 2010

Just another little adventure with Dave and Davina. All the soldiers had completed the out-processing at Camp Atterbury, been flown home to their families and there they were. Two tired soldiers just waiting to return to Kosovo the next day. So what do they do? They go to the races!! I couldn’t believe it. The races, yup, officially we headed out to experience THE GREATEST RACE COURSE IN THE WORLD! Neither had been to the race course that played host to the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, and Dave was so excited that at the crack of dawn he was up and rearing to go. We got to the race track so early we were able to have biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It was to be a simple day, just spend a couple of ... read more
Dave and his fan!
Fast car caught in motion
The ultimate fan hat!

Europe » Kosovo » East May 11th 2010

We waited…and waited…and waited… It was a simple plan. The soldiers fly from Kosovo to Indianapolis, get off the plane and spend a few days at lovely Camp Atterbury going through the De-mobilization out-processing and off they go back to their families. Needless to say that’s not quite how things are worked out. The soldiers were supposed to be here days ago. Me and my admin buddy were sent from Kosovo to Camp Atterbury so we could prepare for our soldiers and ensure that their time spent out-processing goes smoothly. It should have been very simple and in a few days we would have been done. But no… On the day they were supposed to depart from Kosovo, the first plane load sat at the airport for over 12 hours and the second plane load never ... read more
Outdoor office
Back with my buddy!

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