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A new U.S.-led Kosovo Forces task force, made up of Soldiers from 37 states, officially took over responsibility of Multi-National Task Force-East on Saturday, joining units from five other NATO nations, all of which are maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement in Kosovo.
At a mid-day transfer-of-authority ceremony, Brig. Gen. Alan S. Dohrmann, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade of the North Dakota National Guard, and the Soldiers who make up his task force, accepted responsibility of MNTF-E from Brig. Gen. Keith D. Jones, 40th Infantry Division (Forward), of the California National Guard, and the Soldiers under his command.
"We've trained very hard for this mission, really, for more than18 months now," Dohrmann said. We're all ready for the mission; I know the Soldiers are excited to get things started with the mission, and I'm very excited to get things started too."
More than 1,300 Soldiers comprise Task Force Falcon, the U.S. contingent of MNTF-E. Though its headquarters is based out of North Dakota, units that make up the task force come from 14 states and territories: Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, Hawaii, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Michigan, Utah, and the Virgin Islands. In all, 37 states have Soldiers represented. (Below is a breakdown of units and where they're based.)
Nearly 2,200 Soldiers from several NATO countries, including the United States, make up the total MNTF-E force.
Stretching along Kosovo's eastern Administrative Boundary Line, MNTF-E is one of five sectors, where NATO peacekeeping forces conduct patrols and engage with people and institutions.
Brig. Gen. Jones and the Soldiers of the 40th Infantry Division, known as KFOR 11, based out of Los Alamitos, Calif., have been providing safety and security in Kosovo since they arrived in February of 2009.
"This has been an especially important time in my life and my career and it has been an extraordinary experience meeting so many wonderful people and making so many wonderful friends," Jones said. "We could not have been successful were it not for the many partnerships that we were pleased to have. Our efforts have been greatly enhanced by the team of teams and I truly believe that those partnerships have allowed us to have a much more profound and lasting impact to Kosovo."
Dohrmann, with KFOR 12, looks forward to continuing that important mission with the help of multi-national partners from Task Force Hellas (Greece) and Task Force POL/UKR (Poland and the Ukraine), as well as units from Armenia and Romania.
"KFOR 12 Soldiers have been well-trained, are disciplined, and prepared to carry out their mission here in Kosovo," Dohrmann said. The Task Force I lead comprises Soldiers, both National Guard and Reserve, with a wealth of knowledge and experience, both civilian and military. They are all eager to begin what we have trained for months to do -- maintain a safe and secure environment."
The incoming KFOR 12 Soldiers started arriving in Kosovo in late October.
Staff Sgt. Marshel Riley of New Orleans, with MNTF-E Task Force Med said, "it's nice to have all the people here from all the different states and countries. It allows me to learn more about other people's styles and ethnicities, and it allows me to make new friends."
"I love working with NATO," said Sgt. 1st Class Lenroy Harry of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, serving with MNTF-E Task Force's 661st Military Police Company. "This is a great experience and I'm glad to be downrange, as an instructor back home; I will be able to relate my knowledge to my students from what I've learned here."
Spc. Andrew T. Moreno from Lawrenceburg, Kent., an MNTF-E Task Force Aviation fuel tester, said, "I am having a good experience here, the area is beautiful and I work with a great team. It's always great to work in an international environment."
Multi-National Task Force - East is a U.S.-led task force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. The Headquarters is the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from North Dakota. MNTF-E includes nearly 2,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force PPOL/U KR (Polish/ Ukraine). The charter mission of MNTF-E is maintaining a safe and secure environment and providing freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo.
141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (FWD), North Dakota National Guard:
• Headquarters & Headquarters Company (N.D.)
• 116th Public Affairs Detachment (N.D.)
• 160th Finance Detachment (Ariz.)
• 37th Interim Brigade Combat Team (Mich.)
• 1919 Control and Reporting Center (Utah)
• 322nd Civil Affairs/ Det. 5 (Hawaii)
• 753rd Explosive Ordinance Disposal (W. Va.)
• 847th Human Resources Company (Minn.)
• 661st Military Police Company (Virgin Islands)
• 1-144th Filed Artillery Battalion (Calif.)
• 231st Maneuver Task Force (N.D.)
• 2nd Combined Arms Battalion/137th INF. (Kan.)
• 957th Multi-role Bridge Company (N.D.)
• 2-151st Security & Support Battalion (S.C.)
• 1-777th Aviation Support Battalion (Va.)
• 2-147th Aviation Battalion (Ky.)
• 1-169th Aviation Battalion (Ky.)
• 1207th U.S. Army Hospital (Ga.)
• Ground Ambulance Detachment (N.D.)