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    ‘SHIELD’-ing Freedom: MNBG-E Soldiers attend Kosovo medieval festival

    ‘SHIELD’-ing Freedom:  MNBG-E Soldiers attend Kosovo festival

    Photo By Sgt. Casey Hustin | GRAČANICA, Kosovo - Soldiers from Multi-National Battle Group - East spent the day...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Casey Hustin 

    Multinational Battle Group - East (KFOR)

    GRAČANICA, Kosovo – Soldiers from Multi-National Battle Group - East spent the day enjoying the third International Festival of Medieval Arts and Crafts—SHIELD, in the yard of King Milutin Elementary School in Gračanica, Kosovo, on June 23.

    “I was approached at a local restaurant. The festival's organizer asked if I'd be interested in attending their upcoming event in Gračanica,” said Col. Nick Ducich, commander of the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, California National Guard, who is serving as the MNBG-E commander for KFOR 24. “I accepted but expressed my priority was for MNBG-E Soldiers to participate.”

    Organized by the Tourism Organization of Gračanica and two organizations for preservation of medieval arts and crafts—Order of the Dragon from Gračanica and White Eagles from Belgrade, Serbia—this third annual local SHIELD festival was graciously sponsored by the Municipality of Gračanica, the Hungarian Embassy in Priština, Kosovo, and Hotel Gračanica.

    “We (MNBG-E) look for opportunities where our Soldiers can interact with the local population in a relaxed environment while enjoying the diverse activities and spurring the local economy,” said Ducich.

    Soldiers were able to enjoy the traditional medieval festival which was supported by the Culture Center of Gračanica and the local elementary school, King Milutin, and included not only an array of traditional medieval weapons, arts and crafts for sale, but also allowed Soldiers to learn from local experts the skills of axe throwing, archery, spear throwing, and sword fighting.

    The festival hosts also held competitions in spear throwing and archery, and displays of fire dancing and wrestling.

    First Lt. Cameron R. Everhart, an intelligence officer with the 79th IBCT, showcased his skills in the archery competition.

    “I felt honored to be the only U.S. Soldier represented in the archery competition,” said Everhart. “The overall festival was amazing. There was so much to do, see, and learn. One of the gentlemen there taught me the evolution of the shield used in battle throughout the Middle Ages. I thought that was incredibly interesting and has modern day military applications as well.”

    Opportunities enjoyed by the MNBG-E Soldiers are a testament to the behind the scenes planning and coordination capabilities of the 79th IBCT Effects Cell.

    “Our team met with the locals that organized and planned the event along with the local Kosovo Police to coordinate MNBG-E’s participation in the Shield Festival,” said Sgt. Marc W. Brakefield, a Civil Affairs NCOIC with the 79th IBCT.

    MNBG-E Soldiers also enjoyed the opportunity to explore and dine in the local Gračanica community.

    “Attending these type of events in Kosovo strengthen the bonds of trust between the local populous and KFOR while enhancing Soldier understanding of the region's dynamics,” said Ducich.



    Date Taken: 06.25.2018
    Date Posted: 06.25.2018 10:44
    Story ID: 282152
    Location: GRAČANICA, ZZ

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