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    MNBG-E and Kosovo first responders come together for Operation Stonewall II

    MNBG-E and Kosovo first responders come together for Operation Stonewall II

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Melissa Parrish | Members of the MNBG-E Hungarian coy react to Molotov Cocktails during the fire phobia...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Melissa Parrish 

    Multinational Battle Group - East (KFOR)

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Protesters commence to assemble in front of the courthouse with picket signs and loud chants. Police cruisers speed into the parking lot, with sirens screaming and lights in full motion, as Kosovo Police officers surround the area.

    Such was the scene that kicked off Operation Stonewall II, a joint crowd riot control (CRC) training event featuring the Kosovo Police, Kosovo Security Forces, local emergency responders and the soldiers of Multinational Battle Group-East, just outside of the Bill Clinton Gym in Ferizaj, Kosovo, March 28.

    “The goal of the exercise is that there is an understanding of how each unit responds and communicates during a CRC situation,” said the Ferizaj regional director of the Kosovo Police, Lt. Col. Gazmend Hoxha. “If there was a riot, the Kosovo Police will manage the situation and, if back up is needed, we would contact the Kosovo Force (KFOR).”

    The training gave all of the players a chance to work together and get comfortable in how they all interoperate during a riot scenario.

    “What is important about today is that the Kosovo Police is working in cooperation with KFOR,” said Hoxha. “KFOR will test its capacity to react to situations like these, especially in the CRC and protest. It is a good way to evaluate our cooperation with different agencies.”

    As the sky darkened, rain began to pour on the protestors - played by German and U.S. soldiers - which only agitated them, and Kosovo Police officers began applying CRC techniques to contain the unruly mob. As the crowd of protestors began to grow and stress the limits of the Kosovo Police, the call was made to KFOR for assistance.

    The first KFOR element to respond was MNBG-E’s Turkish Coy.

    “Today the Turkish Coy provided support to local law enforcement,” said Turkish army Capt. Himmet Sevinc, commander of the Turkish company assigned to MNBG-E. “Communication was key in this training because, in case this was real life, we will need to know how to communicate with each other and learn the different tactics.”

    Kosovo Force is typically a third responder throughout much of Kosovo, but in the southern region it serves as a second responder. Although KFOR has not been called on to respond to protests in the south in recent memory, it still trains several times throughout the year for the possibility of such an event.

    “It is always a possibility of demonstrations becoming violent,” said Sevinc. “Our mission here is to support a safe and secure environment and this training allows us to plan. This training gives us all a great experience.”

    When the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters of MNBG-E began to swarm the sky filled with Hungarian soldiers arriving to assist their Turkish brothers, the fury of the protestors became more intense.

    The Hungarian Coy piled out of the helicopters and dashed in to support the Turkish Coy. In response, Molotov cocktails flew through the air as KP and MNBG-E began to push the protesters into a position with a steel fence to their back. As a result, the protestors dispersed and the training ended with both agencies controlling the crowd together.

    “The Kosovo Police did an outstanding job today,” said U.S. Army Col. Clint J. Baker, commanding officer of MNBG-E. “They demonstrated their proficiency in this task as did the Turkish Coy and Hungarian Coy.”

    The training was not scripted, which forced leaders to make quick decisions and exhibit their grasp on the situation.

    “It demonstrated their ability to communicate effectively in a timely manner,” added Baker. “Training like this is important in Kosovo because this is one of our primary goals. It makes sense to train on this as often as we can and build relationships. It allows us all to have a shared understanding of our role if an event like this were to take place.”



    Date Taken: 03.27.2015
    Date Posted: 03.28.2015 10:32
    Story ID: 158458
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 

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