Category Archives: U.S Armed Forces in the World

U.S Army and the National Guard in the Humanitarian Operations around the Globe-1

The U.S Army, Nebraska National Guard, and the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) worked around the clock to help restoring the water supply and the drinking water pipe in Djibouti village in Horn of Africa. The project which started in December 2021 was completed in a short period of time with the helping hand of the locals from the Chabelley village in the Arta region of Djibouti.

“Our effort is about much more than fixing a well. It is about demonstrating that we care about our partners and we want our relationship to last.”  expressed 1st Lt. Fortson, construction management officer, 712th ESC U.S Army. 

By Catherine S. Schmidt, Editor in Chief  

Acknowledgments: Image:  U.S. Army Soldiers from the 712th Engineer Support Company (712th ESC), Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa in Chabelley Village, Djibouti, Dec. 22, 2021©U.S. Army National Guard/ Spc. Gauret Stearns.  Sources: National Guard, Spc. Gauret Stearns/U.S Army/Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

The United States Armed-Forces the Freedom Defenders

After twenty years in Afghanistan……..

The United States has never launched a military entry for a territorial interests or political gains. As history marks that almost all U.S interventions have been made based on the main objective of liberating nations; liberating peoples that had been kept in the chains of the despotic systems, tyrannical laws or the authoritarian governments.

No matter in which continents, regions, countries or nations we look in depth, the United States is unceasingly ....reckoned and seen as the ultimate forces of prominent…. liberator.

The captured images of horrified Afghans running in the Kabul airport along the U.S military aircraft, on the eve of August 16, 2021 portrayed desperations.…distress  and… mayhem in the aftermath of the news of the U.S military departure from Afghanistan.                                                        Yet beyond any words….. scripts and interpretations, it portrayed the authenticated tale of indelible chapter of the United States Armed-Forces, which overwhelmed friends and foes with the same degree of bewilder…..astonishment…. and…. awe. 

The United States has never lost a battle, conflicts or wars as its military possesses not only the sheer military might but beyond that it has the cultural and moral appeal which attracts, enchants,…and yet wins over no matter where it sets its presence.              …… it was,…. that happened, ……eventuated in Afghanistan. 


By Editor in Chief, Catherine S. Schmidt (Copyrighted material)

Acknowledgment: Afghans Run Alongside U.S. Military Plane at Kabul Airport ©NBC August 16, 2021


Interview with Capt. Jace Rivard, KFOR Regional Command East Public Affairs Officer, conducted by Editor in Chief

Sir, we are very grateful to have this special occasion with you. Thank you for accepting the invitation. 

Q 1: The United States has been continuously supporting Kosovo by all means of political, diplomatic, economic assistance as well as military contributions in the multinational NATO-led KFOR mission. Could you give us the posture of the U.S troops in this mission at the current time?

U.S. Soldiers in Kosovo are currently supporting NATO’s KFOR Regional Command – East which is one of two regional commands postured beneath KFOR higher headquarters. The mission continues to be ensuring a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.

And what battalions, National Guards, Army Reserve, and Active Duty are parts of this mission?

KFOR Regional Command-East is currently led by Commander, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), Col. Brey Hopkins. The Brigade Headquarters is from the Vermont Army National Guard and is currently deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The aviation Task Force supporting KFOR RC-E at Camp Bondsteel from its normal headquarters in Connecticut and is constructed of units of 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment, with the Connecticut, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Maryland Army National Guard. The KFOR RC-E Maneuver Battalion is led by Commander, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment (Mountain), Maj. Zach Fike. This Vermont headquartered unit is currently deployed to Camp Novo Selo and Camp Nothing Hill in Kosovo.  There are a multitude of enabling units to include an Active Duty medical support company from Fort Bragg, N.C. as well as a detachment from the 29th Military Police Company with the Maryland Army National Guard.

Q 2: One of the crucial exercises of KFOR since 2012 has been the annual exercise ‘Silver Sabre’. In what areas of training this exercise places its objectives?

KFOR conducts the annual Silver Sabre exercise in conjunction with Institutions in Kosovo (IiK) to include the Kosovo Security Organizations with the aim of testing and training in the area of emergency response. Recently KFOR has taken a step back and allowed the Iik to plan their own emergency response exercise and publicly display their capabilities as KFOR helps train and coach.

And what role and contribution has the U.S Army in this multinational military event?

KFOR Regional Command-East assists with the event as advisors and coaches while the Institutions in Kosovo and Kosovo Security Organizations plan and execute Silver Sabre.

Q 3: The U.S Army and National Guard have been also leading the demolition Operations and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) in Kosovo. How important do you see and assess the efforts invested in these crucial areas?

Since the inception of Kosovo Force (KFOR) in 1999, the U.S. and multinational partners have provided EOD support to Kosovo. Over the last 20 years great strides have been made to ensure Institutions in Kosovo have the capability to manage calls for unexploded ordnance (UXO) and during our deployment we’ve witnessed the local institutions capable of handling calls for UXO on their own with oversight by our KFOR Regional Command-East EOD personnel.

Q 4: In early July this year, Vermont National Guard was deployed to Kosovo and since then it has been a key component of the KFOR. Could you tell us in what missions, tasks, and operations the Vermont NG is participating during this deployment?

Our mission under NATO KFOR is derived from the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 from 1999, to provide a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo. We continue to provide support when needed to the local institutions through regular patrols along the Administrative Boundary Line between Kosovo and Serbia as well as Liaison Monitoring Team patrols amongst the population to gain atmospherics and situation awareness. 

Additional: ‘SILVER SABRE’ – KFOR Exercise on Emergency Response Restarts, NATO 

KFOR soldiers test readiness at Silver Saber, U.S Army

News from:  U.S KFOR Regional Command East

KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Teams                              NATO-KFOR

Acknowledgments: Image 1: Members of Kosovo Force Regional Command-East from Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United States, in multinational training ‘Combat Lifesaver Course’ hosted by the U.S. Army KFOR 29 Soldiers, Medical team of Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry Regiment (Mountain), Vermont Army National Guard. Camp Novo Selo Kosovo, Aug. 19, 2021. Image ©U.S Army/2nd Lt. Isabelle Motley. The Interview is subject to Copyright Law.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit by U.S Army Chaplain KFOR Regional Command – East

                                         Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit                                                                                        By: U.S. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Eric Stuepfert, KFOR Regional Command – East Chaplain.

            The trees are beginning to turn.  It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, even for the locals.  Just weeks ago, the rolling mountains stood tall, covered in green as far as your eyes could see.  As a Vermont Green Mountain Boy, you’d think I’d be used to this by now.  The difference this year, is that I’m not in Vermont.  The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) is currently deployed to Kosovo on a NATO peacekeeping mission named Kosovo Force or KFOR. 

 As a Chaplain, I have had the great pleasure of meeting many of the religious leaders throughout Regional Command East and have been able to observe many of the religious traditions and customs found within Kosovo.  I have visited historic sites that I read about as a child, and have seen the magnificent architecture of churches and mosques throughout the Balkans.  Recently I had the privilege of speaking at the Kosovo Center for Peace in Pristina. 

In the speech, I stressed the words found in America’s Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”[1]

            Kosovo has a long history, and much of that history influences today.  Like Americans, the people of Kosovo are deeply influenced by their ethnic and religious heritages.  Like Americans, one generation informs the next generation about the past, both the challenges and the successes.  As I travel around and interact with Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbians, I see and hear this firsthand.  I have also seen the principles and values of America’s Declaration expressed.  For a people with so much history, it gives me hope to hear the ideas of liberty and respect being communicated around the dinner tables.  The belief that all men and women are created equal by their Creator and therefore have certain rights that transcend ethnic, religious, and historical boundaries is foundational to the respect that the people of Kosovo desire and deserve, both from the international community and with one another.  The more that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be on the hearts and minds of the people of Kosovo, the more the challenges of the past can be overcome through mutual respect and cooperation.

            In the future, a Kosovar may stand on top of one of their mountains that are covered in green trees.  While gazing around at the beautiful landscape God has given them, they may think that they too are in Vermont, like I myself do.  But this won’t be because of the mountains rising through the morning clouds or the green lush trees, but because of the freedoms they enjoy.  May God bless them as they strive for liberty, and may God help the United States be an example to Kosovars and others throughout the world, as we live out the principles and values found in our Declaration. 


Additional: An exclusive interview with MAJ. Sam K. Otto, Spokesperson of the Public Affairs, U.S. Army KFOR Regional Command East.  

News from:  KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Teams                                          NATO-KFOR                               NATO    

Acknowledgments: Image of U.S. Army Maj. Eric Stuepfert, Chaplain of Regional Command – East KFOR29, and Imam Labinot S. Maliqi, Executive Director – Kosovo Center for Peace, lead a prayer luncheon on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. October 5th 2021 ©KFOR Regional Command East/KFOR Regional Command East Religious Support Team.  The Article is copyrighted material

Special Edition Interview with NATO Allied Air Command

Interview with the NATO Air Command Spokesman conducted by Editor in Chief 

Sir, we are delighted to have the occasion of this interview with you. Thank you very much indeed for accepting our invitation.

Q: 1 Could you please tell us about the historical formation and the current architecture of NATO Air Command. 

  NATO Air Command spokesman: Headquarters Allied Air Command is located at Ramstein, Germany, within Ramstein Air Force Base, which has been home to a NATO Airpower headquarters since 1974. The headquarters is responsible for planning, exercising and executing Integrated Air and Missile Defence Operations within NATO’s European area of responsibility from peacetime through to conflict. The Headquarters includes the Operations Centre for Air Policing, Ballistic Missile Defence and operational control of NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force as well as for NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force. The Headquarters can also host a Joint Force Air Component to command and control allied air operations during crisis and conflict. More than five hundred dedicated military and civilian personnel, increasing to some 620 in support of the adapted structure, serve at the Headquarters, representing 25 NATO member nations. The staff is permanently augmented by representatives from three of NATO’s partner nations, Sweden, Finland and Azerbaijan. Subordinate units to the Headquarters are the two Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany and Torrejón, Spain as well as the Deployable Air Command and Control Centre at Poggio Renatico, Italy.

Q: 2 One of the pivotal missions of NATO Air COM is to protect the Alliance’s fifth domain, by coordinating and supporting Allied space activities.  

Could you provide us an overview of this mission and what it entails?

NATO Air Command spokesman: NATO Air Power’s core purpose is and always will be the control and exploitation of the air domain to deliver a military effect for the Alliance. While this fundamental purpose is enduring, the capabilities brought to bear are constantly evolving. Modern Aircraft are the latest manifestation of this continuing evolution. These Modern Aircraft with their unique combination of low observable signature, multi-spectral fused sensors, unmatched speed and maneuverability as well as advanced logistics support take NATO Airpower to an entirely new level. When integrated with the Alliances existing fleets, these advanced machines provide NATO with a distinct advantage over any potential adversaries for the foreseeable future.

Q: 3  Could you please comment on the role played by NATO Air Command in maintaining peace, security, and stability in Europe and beyond?

NATO Air Command spokesman: The airspace over Europe sees an average of about 35,000 air movements per day, making it one of the busiest airspaces in the world. Any aircraft flying inside or approaching European NATO airspace that are unidentified, either through loss or intentional omission of communication with Air Traffic Control creates an unsafe environment, which could lead to an air incident.

NATO ensures the integrity, safety and security of its airspace by maintaining a 24/7/365 Air Policing mission, overseen by Allied Air Command.

In December 2019, NATO Heads of State and Government declared space as the Alliance’s “fifth domain” of operations, alongside land, sea, air and cyberspace. NATO Defence Ministers subsequently agreed to the creation of a space centre at NATO’s Allied Air Command in Ramstein, Germany during a meeting in October 2020.

Q: 4 In mid-July NATO Air and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) had a joint exercise in the Black Sea in the framework of enhancing joint cooperation. 

What was the main strategic interest that formulated the combined cooperation as an essential aim?

NATO Air Command spokesman: NATO Allies frequently integrate Allied Air and Maritime assets to improve interoperability, build trust and enhance readiness in the Black Sea region during combined joint training events. The activities on July 2 underlined the Allies’ commitment to collective defence and to maintain peace and preserve security in this region both at sea and in the air.

Q: 5 This year’s annual exercise ‘BALTOPS50’ conducted June 16-18, involved the participation of 18 Armed Forces components of NATO member and partner nations. 

Could you detail the specific operational contribution of NATO Air Power in this exercise? 

NATO Air Command spokesman: During the maritime-focused exercise BALTOPS 50, NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, is responsible for planning, coordinating and controlling Allied air forces. For several years now, Allied Air Command has entrusted NATO’s northern CAOC at Uedem with planning and executing air command and control of air activities during the BALTOPS exercise series. Participants in this multinational exercise create and sustain partnerships and practice a broad range of mission areas to strengthen the capabilities of the participating naval and air units. More importantly, this exercise strengthens their ability to operate as a cohesive joint and combined force and respond to emerging crisis.

Additional news: NATO holds Air Defence Exercise in the Black Sea

Acknowledgments: Image of NATO Air Command HQ ©NATO Allied Air Command, NATO HQ Aircom 23/Cynthia Vernat, HQ Aircom PAO, January 15, 2016. The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. 

NATO’s Support in the evacuation and relocation of Afghans

NATO is supporting the evacuation and relocation of Afghans. Elements of the NATO Response Force (NRF), commanded by Admiral Robert P. Burke (US Navy), are leading the operation and providing care, security, processing and accommodation for the Afghan evacuees.   

The NRF has robust command and control capability, ideal for a mission of this size and complexity. It provides collective defence and a rapid military response in times of crisis, but it can also perform peace-support operations, provide protection to critical infrastructure, and support disaster relief. The NRF is regularly exercised, for instance during exercise Steadfast Defender 21 earlier this year, exercise Noble Jump 19 and exercise Trident Juncture 18.    

The core element of the NRF in this operation is the Joint Logistics Support Group Naples (JLSG) that forms Task Force Noble.

More than 20 Allied nations are contributing, providing transportation aircraft, construction equipment, ambulances, medical teams, civil affairs teams and security personnel.

Around 300 NRF troops are deployed in temporary locations hosting Afghan evacuees. We are working closely with Poland and institutions in Kosovo, who have agreed to temporarily host the evacuees.  There are also hundreds of NATO personnel supporting the operation from our commands and headquarters. For instance, NATO’s Allied Air Command, based in Ramstein, Germany, has been critical to this effort, providing transportation aircraft and crews.  

We are committed to ensure a safe and compassionate transfer of the Afghan evacuees, through a series of temporary locations and on to resettlement. It is a huge effort, and Allies and partners are coming together to make it happen as quickly as possible. At this point, it is too soon to know how long the operation will take.

By NATO military official September 2021 (Copyrighted material)

Additional: NATO Staffs work together to help Afghan refugees in Spain

U.S. Army in Atlantic Resolve

Discover the U.S Army’s support and commitment to Atlantic Resolve and NATO allies. 
News from: U.S KFOR Regional Command East                  NATO-KFOR
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