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    N.D. National Guard Land Component Commander, State CSM visit Soldiers in Kosovo

    N.D. National Guard Land Component Commander, State CSM visit Soldiers in Kosovo

    Photo By Sgt. Jill Fischer | Maj. Steven Johnson, Minot, N.D., 231st Maneuver Task Force, gives Brig. Gen. William...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jill Fischer 

    116th Public Affairs Detachment

    CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — North Dakota National Guard Land Component Commander Brig. Gen. William "Bill" L. Seekins and North Dakota National Guard State Command Sgt. Major Gerald L. Miller visited North Dakota Soldiers deployed to Kosovo and received an update on their mission here.

    Seekins and Miller spent time Jan. 24-26 at Camp Bondsteel, where North Dakota Soldiers are serving part of a yearlong deployment as NATO peacekeepers.

    "I have had a chance to talk with a lot of North Dakota Soldiers in the area and I think it's just nice for them to have a friendly face from back home to talk to, someone with a little local news to share and to just touch base with." Seekins said.

    As part of the visit, Seekins and Miller were treated to an office call with fellow North Dakota Soldiers, Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Bismarck, N.D., commander of KFOR forces in Multi National Task Force-East in Kosovo, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jack W. Cripe, Dickinson N.D., the senior enlisted Soldiers in MNTF-E.

    Seekins and Miller also had a chance to dine with Soldiers from the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fargo, N.D., which is the headquarters unit for KFOR's peacekeeping mission in MNTF-E.
    There are about 650 North Dakota Soldiers along with Soldiers from nearly 40 other U.S. states and territories that make up the 1,400 Soldier U.S. contingent of MNTF-E.

    They are accompanied by five nations — Greece, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Armenia — for a total MNTF-E force of more than 2,000.

    On the second day of their visit, Seekins and Miller observed patrols that were conducted by MNTF-E Soldiers of the 231st Maneuver Task Force, Valley City, N.D., in the Kosovo municipality of Gjilan/Gnjilane.

    "This deployment is a lot different than what our Soldiers may have experienced in Iraq or Afghanistan in that they get a lot more opportunities to interface with the people in Kosovo and the local culture," Seekins said. "They have adapted extremely well to this mission and are performing magnificently every day."

    Miller also took time, while in Kosovo, to hold a special Town Hall Meeting with the enlisted Soldiers from North Dakota. He wanted to hear what questions they might have had about concerns back home and any other issues they wanted to talk about.

    Miller talked to the Soldiers about the weather back in North Dakota, deer hunting, the importance of the National Guard re-integration program for Soldiers returning from deployments and new developments taking place at Camp Grafton, N.D., with the new Regional Training Institute facility.

    "I have to tell you how proud I am of our North Dakota Soldiers," Miller told his packed-house audience. "At least once a week on the Six o'clock News, I see one of your smiling faces, sometimes a husband-wife team, sometimes an individual Soldier, talking about the great things you all are doing over here."

    "Thank you for the opportunity to come in and talk with you. I'm very proud of each and every one of you. I couldn't be happier with the things that I've seen here. I wish we were staying longer."
    On the final day of the visit, Seekins and Miller had breakfast with Soldiers of MNTF-E's Regional Liaison and Monitoring Team, primarily, comprising Soldiers of the 957th Multi-role Bridge Co., Bismarck, N.D.

    Before departing the region, Seekins and Miller joined RLMT Soldiers on visits to the Kosovo cities of Vitina/Viti, Kllokot/Klokot and Letnica.

    "It was a pleasure to see familiar faces from home in our area of responsibility, said Brig. Gen. Dohrmann. "I think that Brig. Gen. Seekins and Command Sgt. Maj. Miller got an informative firsthand look at the work all of our Soldiers are doing here in Kosovo to help bring about positive and change and a brighter future for all people who live here.

    "I am confident they will take away from this visit a sense of pride in what the Army Guard Soldiers of North Dakota are doing here in Kosovo and that that message will be conveyed back home."



    Date Taken: 01.28.2010
    Date Posted: 01.28.2010 04:18
    Story ID: 44542
    Location: CAMP BONDSTEEL, ZZ 

    Web Views: 471
    Downloads: 363