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    Turkish Infantry Company provides vital mission capabilities to Kosovo Force

    Turkish Infantry Company provides vital mission capabilities to Kosovo Force

    Photo By Maj. Jason Sweeney | Turkish soldiers from KFOR Multi-National Battle Group - East's Turkish Infantry...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Jason Sweeney 

    KFOR Regional Command East

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – Turkish troops loaded onto four U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters Aug. 24 for an aerial insertion outside the town of Miresh, Kosovo.

    The helicopters, from 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Massachusetts Army National Guard, flew in low and landed in a field outside the town. The Turkish infantry soldiers jumped out of the aircraft and secured the field. A team from the Turkish company, equipped with crowd-and-riot-control gear, moved to a nearby road and secured it using riot control tactics, techniques and procedures.

    The operation demonstrated that the Turkish Infantry Company can rapidly respond to multiple threats and crises throughout Kosovo.

    “We are ready to go in 30 minutes in any situation,” said Capt. Mehmet Onat, commander of the company.

    Onat’s company performs a vital piece of the Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission of contributing to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for the people of Kosovo. His company currently consists of about 80 Turkish soldiers who are assigned to KFOR’s Multi-National Battle Group - East (MNBG-E), based at Camp Bondsteel.

    “The Turkish Company is an integral part of our commitment to a safe and secure environment in Kosovo,” MNBG-E Commander Col. Nick Ducich said. “It provides a dynamic capability within MNBG-E to patrol the southeastern portion of the Administrative Boundary Line, conduct joint activities with Serbian Armed Forces, and respond as a Quick Reaction Force. The Turkish Company also supports the progression of Kosovo Security Organizations to enhance freedom of movement.”

    The company is also responsible for observation post patrols, joint patrols with the Kosovo Border Police, Macedonia border patrols, Liaison Monitoring Team field house evacuations and crowd-and-riot control actions.

    “I’m proud to be here and with the U.S. It’s important for us to be in NATO and KFOR,” Onat said. “This is a critical mission for us and for our country.”

    The Turkish company is armed with rifles, sub-machine guns, machine guns and pistols. Its vehicles include Mercedes-Benz Unimog trucks, Land Rover non-tactical vehicles and Cobra armored vehicles. In addition, it is prepared and equipped to support Kosovo Police in the event of civil disturbances, if needed.

    The Turkish Company is part of MNBG-E’s Southern Command Post, which has aviation and ground assets. Four U.S. Army Soldiers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 1-181 Infantry and 1-182 Infantry battalions are partnered with the Turkish company. The American team is called a U.S. Ground Combat Team. The team assists the Turkish Company in conducting patrols and missions and ensures the company is fulfilling the MNBG-E commander’s intent.

    “An infantryman is an infantryman through and through no matter what army you come from,” U.S. Ground Combat Team officer-in-charge Capt. James Gerardi said. “The Turkish have the same aggressive mentality, work ethic, and mission-first mentality as U.S. Army infantry forces do.”

    Gerardi’s team has been partnered with the Turkish Company since March 2018 when the KFOR24 rotation arrived at Camp Bondsteel. “We’ve changed some of our tactics and increased security and confidence in our abilities and capabilities with the Kosovo Border Police and Serbian Armed Forces,” he said. “We’ve increased the population’s confidence in KFOR and in the institutions in Kosovo because of our joint efforts together.”

    Onat said his soldiers have adjusted well to the mission and to life on a U.S. base. His soldiers share Turkish coffee with their American friends and play basketball, soccer and volleyball in base tournaments. However, they miss Turkish food, which is not widely available in Kosovo. Onat said a highlight of their missions is when Kosovar children ask them about actors from popular Turkish television series aired on local stations.

    “Here at Camp Bondsteel, we have a good relationship with the Americans and with allied countries,” Onat said. “It is important for us to be here and to contribute to peace in the world.”



    Date Taken: 08.31.2018
    Date Posted: 08.31.2018 08:57
    Story ID: 291102
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 

    Web Views: 1,082
    Downloads: 3