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History of Task Force Eagle

SFOR - Task Force Eagle
On 14 December 1995, a NATO-imposed cease-fire halted the destructive four year Balkan conflict by the issuance of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP). The US 1st Armored Division, as part of NATO's Allied Command Europe, Rapid Reaction Corps, established Task Force Eagle (TFE) which was ordered to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR. On 20 December 1995, TFE assumed control of its Area Of Responsibility (AO) during a Transfer of Authority (TA) ceremony with United Nations forces at Eagle Base, Tuzla.

After the historic bridging of the Sava River on 31 December 1995, the 1st Armored "Old Ironsides" Division, with supporting forces from V (US) Corps, was joined by armed forces of twelve other nations that included Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Russia, Turkey and the United States. Together, these nations comprised MultiNational Division - North (MND-N), one of three MultiNational Divisions in NATO Stabilization FORce (SFOR). TFE represented the Unites States contribution to SFOR.

One of the most powerful UN formations ever fielded, MND-N, enforced the cease-fire, supervised the marking of boundaries, and monitored the zone of separation between the former warring factions, Entity Armed Forces (EAF) which consisted of the Bosnian-Croat Entity (the Federation) and the Bosnian Serb Entity (the Republika Srpska), enforced the withdrawal of the combatants and the movement of the heavy weapons to designated storage sites. TFE also supported the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to administer the country's first ever democratic national elections.

On 10 November 1996, the 1st Armored Division transferred authority for command and control of TFE to the 1st Infantry Division. The 1st Infantry Division deployed as a covering force to allow the safe return of the 1st Armored Division units to Germany. Upon completion of the covering force mission, the 1st Infantry Division continued ensuring that all military aspects of the Dayton Peace Accord were accomplished firmly and fairly.

On 20 December 1996, the implementation force mission came to successful conclusion and the 1st Infantry Division was directed to continue serving in Bosnia as part of the new NATO Stabilization FORce (SFOR). This decision brought to close the mission of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR and the beginning for Operation JOINT GUARD.

On 22 October 1997, the 1st Armored Division conducted a relief in place of the 1st Infantry Division, and reassumed command of MND-N. Soldiers from America's tank division, accustomed to the mission, quickly adjusted to their familiar role and challenges of maintaining a safe and secure and peaceful environment in the MND-N sector of SFOR.

Through careful planning and the skillful execution of every mission, the soldiers of the 1st Armored Division and those of our multi-national allies, continued to monitor the militaries of the former combatants and provide a climate of stability in the war-torn land of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1st Cavalry Division Deployment Order

On 17 April 1998, a Pentagon spokesman announced that the 1st Cavalry Division troops from Ft. Hood, Texas, would deploy in late summer to replace the US peace keeping force in Bosnia, the 1st Armored Division. It was an historic move. It was the first time a Continental United States (CONUS) based contingency unit would assume the Bosnian peacekeeping mission.

While not obvious to the layman, the challenge of moving a division-size Army task force from its home station in Texas to a deployment zone far away, was great. The task force of approximately five thousand soldiers required over seven hundred vehicles, aircraft, and shipping containers of supplies. The shipment had to travel to a far shore across many time zones, mountains, and kilometers of salt water. The route had to be secure and the movement had to be safe.

Planning for the move began in the spring and early summer of 1998. The equipment of the 1st Cavalry Division task force would be transported, staged and concentrated at the shipping terminal of the 596th Transportation Group in Beaumont, Texas, then be moved to its final destination by motor convoy, rail, and air delivery. Additional cargo of the 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, which was to be attached to the 1st Cavalry Division for the Bosnian Operation, would be staged and loaded at Wilmington, North Carolina.

Spring turned into early summer. Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) planners began to hear word of a change of plans. The original planed seaport of embarkation was to be Bremerhaven, Germany, but Pentagon planners were considering a port much closer to the destination. Aviators were concerned about maintenance and safety issues associated with a long air transit across the heart (and mountains) of Europe from northern Germany. Leaders in the 1st Cavalry Division wanted to hurry the movement of their heavy equipment to facilitate the mission transfer. Although a port closer to their destination such as the Adriatic Sea port of Rijeka, Croatia might create infrastructure and security problems, it was finally chosen because its location would speed the entry of the task force's heavy equipment into the theater.

In May, the 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, which has its origin in the "WidowMakers", "C" Company, 229th Aviation Regiment as an organic unit of the 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam, received orders to deploy to Bosnia as peacekeepers in support of Operation JOINT FORGE. In June, in preparation for deployment, its intensive training criteria included an Aviation Training Exercise at Ft. Rucker, Alabama; in July, a Mission Readiness Exercise at Fort Polk, Louisiana and in August, a Joint Air Attack Team live fire coordination exercise at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.

On 20 June, the mission of the NATO SFOR was restated to deter hostilities and stabilize the peace, contribute to a secure environment by providing a continued military presence in the area of operations, target and coordinate SFOR support to key areas and primary civil implementation organizations and progress towards a lasting consolidation of peace without further need for NATO-led forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

As a result of the mission restatement, the transition of the current NATO led SFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina changed over to a slightly smaller follow-on force. The United States agreed to provide a force of approximately 6,900 US military personnel to help maintain a capable military force in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Concurrently, Operation JOINT GUARD ended and Operation JOINT FORGE began. Operation JOINT FORGE continued to build on the successes of Operations JOINT GUARD and JOINT ENDEAVOR. No timeline for the duration of Operation JOINT FORGE was established from the onset. Rather than establish a deadline for the termination of the mission, its accomplishments were assessed periodically and the level of force commitment adjusted, as circumstances required.

With the deployment to Bosnia inching closer, soldiers from the advanced party, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Cavalry Division had already packed their military vans in preparation for their year-long deployment.

1st Cavalry Division Deployment

Different sections from the Division Headquarters loaded the military vans for about four days. The loading went fast because everyone was assigned a specific task. Once the military vans were packed, they were loaded onto vehicles, weighed and moved to the Deployment Readiness Reaction Field (DRRF) to be marshaled, and taken to the railhead in one group, In addition to the Headquarters equipment, High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), five-ton trucks and expando-vans from the Headquarters Company motorpool were being loaded on the trains for shipment to Beaumont, Texas.

Long lines of vehicles were concentrated at the Beaumont docks. The cargo was mostly from Ft. Hood. However, some cargo was from Ft. Carson, Colorado; Ft. Riley, Kansas; Ft. Sam Houston, Texas; and Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Helicopters were flown into the port, some from as far away as a National Guard unit in California. Army Reservists from the 1192nd Transportation Terminal Brigade, from New Orleans, Louisiana, began loading on 04 and 05 August. In all, the cargo covered 192,000 square feet.

Loading Activity At Beaumont, TX
On 04 August, the USNS Soderman, a roll-on, roll-off ship, belonging to the Military Sealift Command, three-football fields long and fifteen stories in height from keel to bridge, was loaded in Beaumont, Texas. The 1st Cavalry Division was on the way to Bosnian peacekeeping duties ahead of schedule, with help from MTMC who arranged to move the equipment for the Division via the Adriatic Sea - instead of a traditional approach through Northern Europe. The bold move through the Croatian port of Rijeka saved two weeks of transit time for the "First Team" soldiers and equipment.

For the USNS Soderman, the distant port of Rijeka drew closer by the hour. As the ship approached the lands of the former country of Yugoslavia, the personnel of MTMC were joined by some new and valuable partners, military and civilian. The military partners included the 21st Theater Area Army Command (TAACOM) of Kaiserslautern, Germany. who were charged with the responsibility of setting up a small city to speed the transition from ship unloading to onward movement to Bosnia.

On 20 August 1998, it was "wheels up" for the troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division as it became the first Continental United States (CONUS) based division to support the ongoing peace-keeping mission in Bosnia and assume command of Task Force Eagle and MND-N. Members of the division departed Robert Gray Army Airfield, Ft. Hood to set the stage for more than six thousand soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Brigade that would follow.

On the same day, the 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment along with the 301st Attack Squadron, Royal Netherlands Air Force and "I/K" Company, 4th Battalion. 159th Aviation that supplements the Battalion's organic aviation maintenance, was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division as Task Force ANGEL. Concurrently, the first element of Task Force ANGEL (the 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment) conducted an incident free deployment from Fort Bragg, North Carolina and arrived at the Camp Comanche airfield. Task Force Angel immediately assumed the attack aviation mission for the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division as if it were organic to the division. Their defined mission was to conduct reconnaissance, security and attack helicopter operations across the SFOR Area of Responsibility (AOR); to deter EAF hostility and enforce the GFAP; on order, conduct mission handover and safely redeploy to CONUS.

The First Team Arrives In Bosnia
On 21 August the first group of the 1st Cavalry Division advanced party arrived at Krk International Airport in Rijeka, Croatia. The troops would assist the 21st TAACOM's logistical task force at the port of Rijeka with the offloading, inspection, preparing and transporting more than eight hundred pieces of equipment, which would be needed by the Division in October, when it would take operational control of the SFOR mission in Bosnia from the 1st Armored Division.

The operations of the port of Rijeka, a new one for MTMC presented many challenges. There were civilian contractors to work with as well. MTMC contracted with Jadroagent, of Rijeka, for port and stevedore services. The stevedores, with another language and culture, were required to undergo extensive training. American contractors included veteran overseas operators Brown & Root Services Corporation and DynCorp. Brown & Root operated a dining facility and shower point. DynCorp maintenance specialists, many of whom were Army veterans, were assigned to assist in the assembly and preparation of the helicopters for flight. In short order, a complete task force staff, from command sergeant major to public affairs officer, was functioning and ready for the arrival of the USNS Soderman.

USNS Soderman at the Port of Rijeka
After a stop in Wilmington, North Carolina to load the equipment of the 229th Aviation Regiment, the US Navy Military Sealift Command USNS Soderman, reached Rijeka on 23 August, a day early. The early arrival of the ship presented no problem as the support teams came together and the dockside operations were started. Unloading the equipment was accomplished in a timely manner.

From 23 to 25 August, stevedores at the Rijeka dockside unloaded 377 wheeled and tracked vehicles, 287 shipping containers, 45 Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, numerous support vehicles, and assorted unit supplies. The cargo was prepared immediately for onward movement. From 25 to 30 August, some twelve trains were loaded with vehicles and shipping containers. Some nonstandard pieces of equipment went by road convoy to the Bosnia-Herzegovina 1st Cavalry Division area near Tuzla.

The shipment into Croatia was a plus for the aviators and saved hundreds of hours of helicopter time for the aircraft of the Division. From a hastily formed dockside aviation compound, helicopters were reassembled, tested, and prepared for liftoff. Almost hourly, another helicopter completed safety and maintenance checks and lifted off high above the sun-drenched docks and out over the azure waters and blue skies of the Adriatic. Pilots flew the helicopters directly to the Camp Comanche airfield, deep in Bosnia.

On 24 August the main body of the Division began deploying from Robert Gray Army Airfield. Flights continued through early October. In preparation for the mission, the training soldiers had conducted prior to deploying had been very demanding and the whole experience had pulled the Division Staff together. Morale was quite high.

Operation Joint Forge Homebase
In settling into Eagle Base, Major General Kevin P. Byrnes observed that the surroundings were a little bland and lonely. To correct the situation, he commissioned a group of resourceful troopers to survey the conditions, recommend and implement a solution. The results of their first, of many, labors of love were illustrated by many of the colorful 1st Cavalry Division insignia and signs that quickly appeared.

Although units of the 1st Cavalry Division are deployed routinely around the world, the Division Headquarters had not deployed since DESERT STORM. The headquarters command staff of the division would be stationed at Camp Eagle near Tuzla, Bosnia during the entire year-long deployment. It was planned that the 1st Brigade Combat Team would be relieved by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in March 1999. In August 1999, the 10th Mountain Division (and other units) would replace the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, 4th Brigade, 312th Military Intelligence Battalion, and 13th Signal Battalion. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team would remain in Bosnia under the control of the 10th Mountain Division until October 1999 when, as the last unit of the 1st Cavalry Division to return, it would redeploy to Ft. Hood.

Changeover Of Command
On 07 October, in a ceremony held at Tuzla Airfield, Major General Kevin P. Byrnes, Commander, 1st Cavalry Division, accepted authority of the NATO Multi-National Division and Task Force Eagle from outgoing commander Major General Larry R. Ellis, 1st Armored Division. The units of the 1st Cavalry Division would be responsible for enforcing the Dayton Peace Accords and maintaining a stable and secure environment in war-torn country of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

General Eric M. Shinseki, NATO SFOR Commander was the reviewing officer for the afternoon ceremony. The ceremony began with an inspection of the honor company. After a performance of the Turkish band playing the "Star Spangled Banner" the colors of the 1st Armored Division were cased and the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were uncased and presented. The ceremony closed with a benediction by the 1st Cavalry Division Chaplain and the band playing "Hit the Leather", "Iron Soldier March", and "The Army Song".

12 October - Last Flight Arrives
On 12 October the last flight of the 1st Cavalry Division soldiers arrived in Bosnia. The 1st Cavalry Division had completed deployment of Division Headquarters, two brigade task forces and a number of supporting units to Bosnia. This flight marked the first commercial flight, carrying military soldiers, to fly into the Tuzla International Airport, which officially opened on 10 September 1998. The capability shortened deployment and redeployment times for soldiers assigned to Task Force Eagle.

First, working in a coordinated, preplanned effort, each unit of the Combat Team was assigned tasks or undertook specific missions, that fulfilled the overall mission of the 1st Cavalry Division. The missions included the following tasks:

Patrolling the 1,400 km Zone of Separation (ZOS)
Monitoring 766 cantonment sites
Conducting site inspections and confiscation of unauthorized weapons
Monitoring Entity Armed Forces (EAF) training and movement activities
Monitoring of de-mining efforts
Enforcing restrictions on EAF training
Removing unauthorized checkpoints
Maintaining a secure environment for civil implementation
Improving local infrastructure of bridges, roads and railroads
Maintaining local airport facilities for civil air traffic

To effectively cover their theater of operations, the 1st Cavalry Division Units were functionally deployed and stationed at base camps in Bosnia as indicated by the green designator labels shown on the map below.

The 1st Cavalry Division Units deployed for the first six months of duty were positioned in the following camp areas:

1st BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM (20 August 1998 to 15 Mar 1999)

    "HHC", 1st Cav Div           "HHC", 1-8th Cavalry          "HHC", 4th Bde Cmbt Tm
    "HHC", 1st Bde Cmbt Tm       "A" Co, 2-5th Cavalry         "HSC", 2-227th Avn Regt
    "HHB", 1-82nd FA Bn          "B" Co, 1-8th Cavalry         "A" Co, 2-227th Avn Regt
    "B" Btry, 1-82 FA            "C" Co, 1-8th Cavalry         "B" Co, 2-227th Avn Regt
    "C" Btry, 1-82nd FA          "D" Co, 1-8th Cavalry         "C" Co, 2-227th Avn Regt
    "C" Btry, 1-21st FA          "B" Co, 20th Engineer Bn      "D" Co, 2-227th Avn Regt
    "HHC", 13th Signal Bn                                      "HHC", 615th Avn Spt Bn
    "C" Co, 13th Signal Bn                                     "HHC", 115th Fwd Spt Bn
    "D" Co, 13th Signal Bn                                     "A" Co, 2-8th Cavalry
    15th Finance Det                                           "C" Co, 2-5th Cavalry
    15th Pers Serv Det                                         "HHC", 3-229th Avn Regt **
    "HHC", 312th MI Bn                                         "A" Co, 3-229th Avn Regt **
    "B" Co, 312th MI Bn                                        "B" Co, 3-229th Avn Regt **
    545th MP Company                                           "C" Co, 3-229th Avn Regt **
    410th MP Company                                           "D" Co, 3-229th Avn Regt **
                                                               "I/K" Co, 4-159th Avn Regt **
                                                               301st Atk Sqn, RNAF **
    "HHC", 2-5th Cavalry (-)     "HHC", 2-8th Cavalry          "HHC", 2-5th Cavalry
    "D" Co, 2-5th Cavalry        "C" Co, 2-8th Cavalry         "B" Co, 2-5th Cavalry
    "A" Co, 1-8th Cavalry        "D" Co, 2-8th Cavalry         "A" Btry, 1-82nd FA
    "B" Co, 2-8th Cavalry        "C" Co, 20th Engineer Bn
    "A" Co, 20th Engineer Bn     "A" Co, 52nd Engineer Bn
    "A" Co, 4-5th ADA (-)

        ** Units attached 20 Aug 1998 and not organic to 1st Cavalry Division.
           Relieved from attachment 30 Mar 1999

Following deployment to Bosnia, 1st Cavalry Division troopers underwent a post deployment training and transition program with the soldiers of 1st Armored Division that was built on the concept of a "right-seat-ride". During this time, leaders, staffs and soldiers trained alongside their counterparts with the 1st Cavalry Division soldiers accompanying 1st Armored Division soldiers as they accomplished daily missions in Bosnia. Each soldier and officer rode "in the right seat" for a minimum of two weeks. 1st Cavalry Division soldiers assumed more responsibility for missions as 1st Armored Division soldiers were slowly phased out from daily operations.

1st Cavalry Presence Patrol
In order to maintain the NATO SFOR presence, the Division conducted approximately 100 patrols daily throughout the Area of Responsibility (ARO). Supervision and monitoring of EAF, consisting of the Bosnian-Croat Entity (the Federation) and the Bosnian Serb Entity (the Republika Srpska), was a primary mission. Training and movements of the EAF were monitored daily to ensure that their missions were conducted safely and within the stipulations of the Dayton Peace Accord. To the citizens of Bosnia, stability was associated with the presence of peacekeepers, who on a daily basis, conducted eight to ten inspections of EAF arms and ammunition storage.

13th Signal Battalion

Units of the 13th Signal Battalion were deployed to Bosnia in support of Operation JOINT FORGE. They were stationed at various camps sites to upgrade or replace existing networks and make radio, data link, land line and internet communication for commanders and service personnel deployed to the area, simple and efficient. The objective of the 13th Signal Battalion was to facilitate communicating throughout the rough terrain of the MND-N sector as easy as in the states.

Bosnia/Hood Video Teleconference
Another major responsibility of the 13th Signal Battalion was to install and maintain secure data links for communicating to the various NATO commanders and back to Ft. Hood, TX.

On 15 October the first of many video teleconferences between the Command Division staff and the Family Readiness Group leaders at Ft. Hood occurred. Task Force Eagle updated the leaders about the status of current operations in Bosnia and the leaders were given the opportunity to provide information on any critical family issues and ask questions. Following the Family Readiness conference, the Task Force Hood staff briefed the Commanding General on the situations at Fort Hood.

227th Aviation Regiment

On 24 October an unidentified laser device was directed at a UH-60 helicopter and resulted in minor eye injuries for two crewmembers of "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation. The incident occurred near the town of Zenica. The flight crew completed their mission and returned to base where they were both immediately examined and treated. The pilot and a crew member had sustained minor burns to the outer tissue of their eyes. The optometrist who treated the pilots indicated that the injuries would not be permanent. Subsequent examinations showed improvement and the crew returned to full flight status within the next few days.

Laser Protective Glasses
By 01 November all UH-60 and AH-64 helicopter crews flying in support of the SFOR in the Bosnia-Herzegovina areas began using newly issued laser protective equipment in the wake of the recent incident.

Immediately following the confirmation of the incident, coalition military units and units from the EAF were notified and a full investigation was initiated. This was the first verified laser incident in which medical treatment was required. There had been three other reports of suspected pen-type laser devices being aimed at US aircraft. However, there had been no injuries in any of these cases.

1st Cavalry Division Band

Camp Comanche Welcome To Bosnia
In November 1989, a detachment of the Cavalry Division Band from Ft. Hood, TX., deployed to Bosnia to provide entertainment for the troopers of the Division and local citizens at the Bosnian Cultural Center in Tuzla. The three-month tour of the band in Bosnia included a series of concerts for SFOR soldiers and citizens. The thirty nine member band delighted its audiences with a musical sampling of rock-n-roll, dixie land, country western and classical music. In addition, the holiday concerts included combined performances with Turkish and Russian military bands.

At Christmas, the brass players performed a tree lighting ceremony at the MND-N Headquarters, complete with Santa Claus in a HMMWV and a bag full of gifts. After the ceremony, the band members, trading their battle dress uniforms for "dress blues", held a concert for Major General Byrnes and the staff. While serving with Task Force Eagle, throughout the tour and at all the concerts, the First Team Band helped boost Division morale during the holiday season, as well as spread goodwill throughout the civilian community and as well by promoting esprit de corps throughout Bosnia.

Security - A Prime Mission in Bosnia
As 1998 came to a close at Camp Eagle, a HMMWV driven by the commander of the guard mount, crunched over the snow-packed perimeter road as it made the rounds for the night, checking on soldiers at the gatehouses and on guard towers along the airstrip side of the main American base. Additional security was provided by generator-fed floodlights spilling a halogen shimmer on the icy road and frosted spirals of concertina wire strung along the perimeter of Eagle Base.

Base security, at all times, was the prime mission for the Division. New Year's Eve passed much like any winter night of pulling guard duty at Eagle Base except for the 15-minute fusillade that was touched off at the stroke of midnight by local Bosnians living in the nearby communities, who celebrated (in a somewhat dangerous fashion) by firing pistols, rifles, and machine guns into the sky along with several small explosions for good measure.

Engineer Brigade

The most important and dangerous mission performed by units of the engineer battalions deployed to Bosnia was monitoring demining operations. Their mission was: "To collect, manage and provide mine information for the protection of the force and support the removal, dismantling, and destruction of all mines, unexploded ordnance, explosive devices, and demolitions in accordance with the Dayton Accords."

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the most severe landmine problem in Europe, where it is estimated that one million land mines were emplaced during the three year civil war. To prepare themselves for the mission, the engineers conducted an extensive training program that consisted of: 1) deminer refresher training; 2) mechanical deminer training; 3) survey training; 4) mine awareness and 5) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training.

Remote Mine Clearing Device
Two types of remote controlled mechanical crawlers were employed to ensure the safe movement of soldiers through areas suspected to be mined. The first, the Mini-Flail, was designed to clear a footpath for troops to move through suspected mine areas. A larger sized mechanical version, the M-60A3 Panther Mine Proofing Vehicle, was designed for use to clear a safe path wide enough to accommodate vehicles.

Significant improvements in demining operations were developed in Bosnia. The significant change was made when the methodology changed from "mine lifting" to "mine clearing". Mine lifting consists of identifying and removing known mines in accordance with the quantities shown on existing minefield records and any additional devices identified during the lifting operation. This method does not account for inaccurate maps or mines that had been added at later dates. Mine clearing consists in a concentrated clearance of mines from a designated area and physical proofing of the ground. This process results in a 99.6% certainty that the area will be safe and can be returned for public use.

In addition to the dangerous task of monitoring mine clearing, units of the Engineer Brigade were busy constructing and reshaping the landscape with their heavy equipment. Among the most critical high priority tasks, was the restoring, remodeling and new construction of the various camps and specialized training facilities. A major effort was undertaken to improve the local infrastructure system of roads and bridges around each of the camps and patrol areas. Working with the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB-40) Seabees, the engineers rebuilt the drainage system and added new access roads and several Forward Area Refueling Points (FARP) pads at the Comanche airfield.

One of the assignments of the Division was to routinely set up checkpoints to exercise the interoperability of various forces during day and night operations and to spot check vehicles that might be carrying illegal cargo. On the evening of 24 February, troopers of "A" Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, operating out of Camp McGovern, found a large quantity of contraband munitions in two trucks during checkpoint operations near Brcko. Acting within their mandate, they seized the two trucks and all military weapons and ammunition on board.

The seized weapons, hidden behind piles of firewood, were not the types of weapons that ordinary citizens would have in their possession. They included multiple rocket launch systems, SA-7 air defense systems, and other sophisticated and expensive weapons that one would expect to see only in the possession of military forces.

Following up on the results on their investigation, troopers supported by Russian troops moved to a warehouse suspected of holding illegal weapons in Bijeljina. Entering the warehouse, they found hundreds of cases of military equipment, plastic explosives, grenades, arms and ammunition. The equipment was seized and removed from the site along with paperwork and records.

Subsequent investigations revealed that several personnel assigned to the 311th Infantry Brigade, III Corps Bosnian Serb Army Voijska Rep Srpska (VRS) were directly involved in supporting this illegal act. As punishment for the movement of counterband arms, the 311th Infantry Brigade was disbanded in its entirety. The headquarters, barracks, weapons storage sites, ammunition depots, ranges and other facilities associated with the 311th Infantry Brigade were barred from any military function.

3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment

The 3rd Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment - designated as Task Force ANGLE, under Operational Control (OPCON) to the 1st Cavalry Division, accomplished its mission and each of its Mission Essential Tasks (MET), as well as exceeding every standard by which a unit can be measured.

In the Bosnian AOR, TF ANGLE conducted multinational operations with more than ten foreign countries, from NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. In doing so, it executed its traditional attack helicopter missions as well as non-traditional roles such as hostage rescue exercises, border surveillance, weapon storage site reconnaissance, escort and combined arms operations with infantry and armor.

3-229th Aviation At Glamoc Range
In February, "C" Company conducted an aerial gunnery qualification and live fire exercise at Glamoc Range in southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina, most notably firing live Hellfire missiles. Each crew passed its certification requirements by firing 30mm rounds and 2.75 folding-fin practice rockets, in preparation for the live fire exercise. The live fire operation was a capstone training event that allowed the company commander to control the fires of multiple aircraft in a single engagement. Successful training such as those held at the Glamoc exercise gave the company confidence in its ability to shoot, communicate and move out under tactical conditions.

After it arrived in Bosnia, TF ANGEL flew over five hundred hours per month. This Operating Tempo (OPTEMPO) reflected an average of 32.5 hours per month per aircraft. In carrying out its mission, TF ANGEL surpassed the Field Mission Capability (FMC) standard for both aircraft availability (84% FMC) and vehicle readiness (88% FMC) for each and every month of deployment by 14% and 8% respectively.

Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Training

In March, seven countries participated in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) training hosted by the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry at Camp McGovern. US troops participated along with Russian, Danish, Turkish, Swedish, Finish, Polish, and Norwegian chemical soldiers in a joint static display of NBC defense equipment. The US soldiers also held a decontamination exercise demonstrated by soldiers from Camp Bedrock.

The multinational forces converged to observe the US soldiers perform an operational decontamination demonstration. The demonstration consisted of a vehicle wash down to simulate cleansing vehicles of contamination. The exercise also involved a Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear exchange, where soldiers traded out simulated contaminated protective suits for clean garments.

In early March, the 1st Brigade with its attached units began the process of deploying to Ft. Hood and was relieved in place by the 2nd Brigade with its corresponding attached units. The Division Headquarters, the 4th Brigade, the 312th MI and 13th Signal Battalions, scheduled as "Holdover Units", remained deployed in theater until redeployment in August.

USNS Antares departs Rijeka, Croatia
On 20 March the first train loaded with military equipment, vehicles and containers, belonging to the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, arrived at night in the port of Rijeka, Croatia. This was the first staging for the unit in its redeployment to CONUS following its tour of duty as part of the NATO Stabilization Forces. The equipment and containers were placed in a sterile area, adjacent to the docks, before being loaded. Croatian longshoremen, working under the direction of the MTMC 839th Transportation Battalion, loaded the cargo of vehicles, shrink wrapped helicopters, and specialized equipment on the USNS Antares (T-AKR-294), a "Roll On/Roll Off" Transport. On 30 March, the USNS Antares left Rijeka, Croatia, bound for the ports of Wilmington, North Carolina and Corpus Christi, Texas.

On 24 March 1999, NATO launched a major offensive against Kosovo, a neighboring Balkan province of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The objective of the strike was to force the Yugoslavian leader, Slobodan Milosevic to end his "ethnic" cleansing of Albanians who constituted approximately eighty-five percent of the population in the Serb province.

Downed FRY MIG-29 Aircraft
The threat from the warring factions in the neighboring country of Kosovo became more evident on 26 March, when three Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) MiG 29 air superiority fighter aircraft entered the sovereign airspace of Bosnia-Herzegovina with hostile intent. They were immediately engaged by F-15s aircraft flying defensive air patrols in support of the UN-sanctioned, NATO Forces. Two of the MiGs were shot down, the third retreated to FRY airspace before being intercepted. One of the downed MiGs crashed near the town of Teocak, about 10 kilometers inside the Bosnia-Herzegovina border and the other downed aircraft crashed a little farther south. Access to the crash sites was hampered by concern for the many land mines which had not yet been cleared.

Although wreckage from the two downed aircraft landed near the US Sector. troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division remained safe and secure as they continued with their mission. As always, force protection was the top priority. Immediately, access to all camps became limited to mission essential personnel only, with normal operations resuming as soon as was practical. Troops were back in flak jackets and helmets and were eating Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) supplemented with fresh fruit, breads and simply prepared foods. Contractor personnel only returned when the potential of any threat to the troops was eliminated.

On 27 March, a second violation of Bosnia-Herzegovina airspace occurred when two FRY helicopters crossed the border south of Bijeljina. The helicopters were tracked by NATO aircraft and retreated to FRY airspace before they could be intercepted.

AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel Radar
In light of possible air retaliation for the stepped up NATO attack against the neighboring country of the FRY, force protection measures were strengthened and accelerated. On 01 April a team from the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division at Ft. Hood, TX. deployed in support of Operation JOINT FORGE. The unit, equipped with the AN/MPQ-64 "Sentinel" radar, was assigned to MND-N in Bosnia. The deployment of the unit enhanced an already robust, protection program of force that ensured the safety of the 1st Cavalry Division and other attached forces supporting Operation JOINT FORGE.

The Sentinel radar, a towed, ground-based unit assigned to short range air defense battalions. It is capable of automatically detecting, tracking, identifying and classifying threat targets in all weather conditions up to forty kilometers away. Its low altitude system is capable of alerting and cueing air defense gunners to aerial targets approaching their engagement area.

Amid the flurry and background of a war occurring in a neighboring country, the members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team readied themselves to relieve the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Bosnia. Upon deployment for the second round, the 2nd Brigade, along with its support units, including the non-divisional attached units as well as the "Holdover Units" were stationed at the following five camp areas. (Camp Bedrock had been closed in March.)

2nd BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM (15 March 1999 to 01 October 1999)

    "HHC", 1st Cav Div *         "HHC", 1-12th Cavalry         "HSD", 4th Bde
    "HHC", 2nd Bde Combat Tm     "A" Co, 1-12th Cavalry        "HHC", 1-4th Avn Regt **
    "HHB", 3-82nd FA             "C" Co, 1-12th Cavalry        "A" Co, 1-4th Avn Regt **
    "A" Btry, 3-82nd FA          "D" Co, 1-12th Cavalry        "C" Co, 1-4th Avn Regt **
    "B" Btry, 3-82nd FA          "C" Co, 1-5th Cavalry         "D" Co, 1-4th Avn Regt **
    "C" Btry, 1-21st FA *        1st Plt, "C" Btry, 3-82nd FA  "D" Trp, 1-7th Cavalry
    "HHC", Engineer Bde          "A" Co, 91st Engineer Bn      "E" Trp, 1-7th Cavalry
    "HHC", 91st Engineer Bn (-)  2nd Plt, 401st MP Co **       "F" Trp, 1-7th Cavalry
    "C" Co, 91st Engineer Bn                                   "HHC", 1-159th Avn Regt **
    545th MP Co (-) *                                          "A" Co, 1-159th Avn Regt **
    "HHC", 312th MI Bn *                                       "B" Co, 1-159th Avn Regt **
    "B" Co, 312th MI Bn *                                      "D" Co, 1-159th Avn Regt **
    "HHC", 13th Signal Bn *                                    "HHC", 15th Fwd Spt Bn
    "B" Co, 13th Signal Bn                                     "A" Co, 15th Fwd Spt Bn
    15th Finance Det *                                         "B" Co, 15th Fwd Spt Bn
    15th Pers Serv Det *                                       "C" Co, 15th Fwd Spt Bn
    401st MP Co (-) **                                         "A" Co, 62nd Engineer Bn **
                                                               "HHC", 404th Avn Spt Bn **
                                                               "C" Btry, 4-5th ADA Bn
    "HHC", 1-5th Cavalry          ** CLOSED **                 "HHC", 2-12th Cavalry
    "B" Co, 1-5th Cavalry                                      "A" Co, 2-12th Cavalry
    "D" Co, 1-5th Cavalry                                      "D" Co, 2-12th Cavalry
    "B" Co, 1-12th Cavalry                                     "A" Co, 1-5th Cavalry
    "B" Co, 2-12th Cavalry                                     2nd Plt, "C" Btry, 3-82nd FA 
    "C" Co, 2-12th Cavalry                                     1st Plt, "C" Co, 91st Engineer Bn
    "B" Co, 91st Engineer Bn
    1st Plt, 401st MP Co **

        * Holdover units from fall 1998 deployment
        ** Units attached and not organic to 1st Cavalry Division

On 01 April, the Division initiated the formal implementation of the second and final mission phase as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team relieved the 1st Brigade Combat Team. On 02 April Major General Byrnes addressed the morale and dedication of all the MND-N troops necessary to keep Bosnia on a peaceful track. He made arrangements to get the troops back on one hot meal a day, and they eagerly awaited the day for the return of "home cooking" provided by the contractor, Brown and Root.

Division Support Command

The Division Support Command (DISCOM) "Wagonmasters" provided TFE with the "life line" of "fuel-fix-arm-move-sustain" spectrum of support for the operations of the 1st Cavalry Division in Bosnia. Previously, in the first mission phase, this function was provided by the 115th Forward Support Battalion (FSB) and the 615th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB). Now the colors of the 15th FSB provided the focal point of the Logistics Task Force (LTF) which included aviation maintenance elements of the "A" Company, 404th ASB, 4th Infantry Division and higher-echelon maintenance from the 183rd Maintenance Support Team (MST), III Corps from Ft. Carson, Colorado.

The LTF was also home to a platoon of Heavy Equipment Transports (HETs), as well as a section of Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Units (ROWPUs) from the division's own 27th Main Support Battalion (MSB), the largest and most powerful battalion of its kind in the entire United States Army. The HETs add the capability for transport armored vehicles quick and efficiently over long distances, and the ROWPUs provides a standby fresh water "on call" capability, should the local contracting efforts break down or become overloaded. The 27th MSB also provided personnel backfill to the 15th FSB prior to the deployment to Bosnia in order to fill critical slots in a variety of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS).

Although the "Gamblers" of the LTF operated mainly from Comanche Base, they also had soldiers and equipment spread throughout the MND-N area of responsibility, providing support where needed. MSTs were attached to each battalion TF to ensure that weapon system repairs are done at the lowest possible echelon of support, and the HET drivers of the 27th MSB operate constantly, shifting combat power where needed in the sector.

On 16 April, the Navy ship, USNS Antares (T-AKR-294), a "Roll On/Roll Off" Transport, arrived at the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas. The docks became a flurry of military activity as Black Hawk helicopters, Humvees and supplies were loaded onto trains and trucks after their return from Bosnia. The equipment, coming from Rijeka, Croatia, was moving to the home base of the 1st Cavalry Division, Ft. Hood near Killeen. Texas.

The MTMC planned the highly coordinated endeavor. It involved synchronizing seventy rail cars, forty-six trucks and more than two-hundred people, including one-hundred local stevedores, who descended on the cargo dock and began unloading the ship. Among the contents of the ship were twenty-four helicopters, which were shipped disassembled. The pieces of each of the $14 million helicopters would be reassembled on the dock, inspected, refueled and then flown on to Ft. Hood, Texas.

On 23 July, initiating the 6th rotation of US Troops into Bosnia, an advanced party of what will eventually be 3,200 soldiers from 10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum, New York arrived to begin the staffing build up for the Change of Command of MND-N. The 10th Mountain Division had been in training for the past year, preparing for their mission assignment to Bosnia. The 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division began deploying later in the month to fall in on equipment which sailed from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, Staten Island, New York on 04 August.

Change Of Command, 04 Aug 1999
On Wednesday 04 August at 10:00 hours, the MND-N hosted a Change of Command ceremony at the Eagle Sports Complex, during which the 10th Mountain Division Headquarters from Ft. Drum, New York, formally took over the duties of the MND-N mission replacing the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, 4th Brigade, 312th Military Intelligence Battalion, and 13th Signal Battalion.

Major General James L. Campbell assumed command of MND-N from Major General Kevin P. Byrnes. In carrying out the TA, there was a gradual, incrementally executed operation, that was planned in a manner to ensure that there would be no disruption in the mission of MND-N, which was to provide a safe and secure environment throughout its area of responsibility. The 1st Cavalry Division soldiers would continue to serve the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the 2nd Brigade Combat Team remained in place under the command of the 10th Mountain Division, completing the full mission transition in October

In the continuation of its assignment, members of the 2nd Brigade stayed busy conducting their regular patrolling activities and participating in, and monitoring the variety of EAF training and movement events throughout the sector. The missions included presence patrols, weapons search and inspections, Operation HARVEST '99, the summer demining campaign, Joint Assessment Team investigations and displaced persons and refuges returns.

Transfer Of Authority, 01 Oct 1999
On 01 October, in a Transfer of Authority ceremony, Col. Bernard S. Champoux, commander of 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division and his brigade took over responsibility of the American sector of the MND-N, previously controlled by 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division under the command of Col. George E. Bowers. Serving the final six months rotation of the 1st Cavalry Division in Bosnia, the 2nd Cavalry Brigade had brought immeasurable credit to its proud lineage and tradition in being a part of the struggle of Bosnia to pull itself out of the aftermath of four years of war. The 1st Cavalry Division had served as our nation's ambassadors. The day to day presence of its soldiers and their commitment to the citizens of Bosnia helped prove and ensure that a lasting and self-sustaining peace is possible.

This transition represented more than a brigade level transition of authority. It signaled the mission accomplishment of the military provisions set forth by the Dayton Peace Accords and the end of the magnificent tour of the "First Team" in Bosnia. Following the TA Ceremony, the final efforts of the 2nd Brigade were spent organizing personnel, cleaning, packing and loading equipment. Upon arrival at Ft. Hood, Texas, a Division Patch Welcome Home Ceremony was held on 18 October, at Cooper Field.

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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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