Special Edition Interview with the U.S Army KFOR Regional Command East (Series-3)

Special Edition on the Anniversary of NATO KFOR June 1999.

Interview with 1LT Catherine M. Bean, KFOR Regional Command East Public Affairs Officer, conducted by Editor in Chief.

Q 1: Over the last two decades Virginia Army National Guard has been the vital components of the NATO-led operation KFOR with its ongoing support and deployment to Kosovo.

  • Can you brief us about the current mission, and the roles that Virginia National Guard is holding in KFOR RC-East? And how the U.S Army battalion leads the multinational forces in Kosovo?

1LT Catherine M. Bean: The 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard is the commanding unit of Kosovo Forces, or KFOR, Regional Command-East. Regional Command-East is one of two regional commands subordinate to KFOR Headquarters. Regional Command-East’s mission continues to support of the overall mission of KFOR and the United Nations mandate that guides KFOR. Regional Command-East remains committed, together with our partners, to provide a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people and communities in Kosovo.

Q 2: In early May the U.S. Army Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher, Assistant Adjutant General, Virginia National Guard, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Smith, state command sergeant major, VaARNG, visited KFOR RC-East.

  • Please tell us the highlights of this visit.

1LT Catherine M. Bean: Brigadier General K. Weedon Gallagher, Assistant Adjutant General, Virginia Army National Guard, and Command Sergeant Major Ronald L. Smith, Command Sergeant Major, Virginia Army Guard, visited the command teams and Soldiers of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and area of operations in Kosovo, May 6 to May 8, 2022.  During the visit, Brig. Gen. Gallagher and Command Sgt. Maj. Smith received a tour of the medical and aviation area of operations, met with 1st battalion, 149th Infantry command teams at Camp Novo Selo, visited with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Soldiers at Camp Nothing Hill, and conducted an aerial site tour of Kosovo locations within RC-East.

Q 3:  KFOR Civil and Military Cooperation (CIMIC) conference was held in KFOR Headquarters, Pristina, in March this year.

  • Can you speak about the framework and the objectives of this conference?

1LT Catherine M. Bean: The KFOR Civil and Military Cooperation, or CIMIC, conference framework included a series of presentations by the KFOR Headquarters CIMIC, local NGOs, and international organizations, as well as, hosted an open discussion on how KFOR can best use its CIMIC resources to positively impact the communities within Kosovo. This allowed KFOR to complete its objectives of building a network of CIMIC related organizations, facilitating increased coordination and information sharing between the attending groups, and facilitating in-person large-group discussion.

Q 4:  Added to its military peacekeeping operation, the KFOR RC-East has been simultaneously supporting civil military cooperation and community based projects from the beginning of its mission- continuing to the present time.

  • What are the recent projects that KFOR RC-East has initiated or is part of?

1LT Catherine M. Bean: KFOR Regional Command-East’s recently completed projects, and currently developing projects, are meant to enhance the current capacities of schools at all education levels, women’s shelters, local non-governmental organizations, and the public safety sector. For example, KFOR Headquarters and Regional Command-East recently completed a project including the donation of a constructed water well at the Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence in NOVO BRDO, enabling the shelter to provide potable water to its residents. Regional Command-East also utilizes Soldiers within the medical unit and effects battalion as resources to provide valuable trainings like CPR, infant care, and burn and scrape care to local schools and NGOs, enabling them to share that knowledge with the community.

Q 5: From troop transport, extinguishing wildfires and rapidly transporting injured personnel via medical evacuation, the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter has demonstrated itself as a great asset for KFOR.

  • Please give us a view to the capability of UH-60 Black Hawk and its main operational task in the recent years in NATO-led KFOR mission.

1LT Catherine M. Bean: The UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter is the U.S. Army’s primary medium-lift utility transport and air assault aircraft. It is the work-horse of the Army and is equally proving its capabilities and necessity in the NATO KFOR mission. And is used on a daily bases for a multitude of purposes including troop transportation, Bambi-bucket firefighting, sling load operations and much more. Another critical mission the Black Hawk supports in KFOR is providing aerial medical evacuation, or MedEvac. With the aircraft’s heavy lift capacity, it is able to conduct external hoist operations, which allows the MedEvac crew to conduct aerial lifts of personnel in excess of 600lbs. In addition to its hoist capabilities, the UH-60L is a superior platform for the MedEvac mission due to the internal capabilities such as ventilator support, pain management, and search and rescue capability.

Acknowledgments: Image-1 U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Pettway, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, 29th Infantry Division, Virginia National Guard, discusses aircraft procedures and safety with service members of the Swiss Air Force. Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, April 2022. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Warren Wright ©KFOR Regional Command East/U.S Army/U.S National Guard. The Interview is subject to Copyright Law.


Happy Birthday U.S. Army Europe and Africa 

  The Freedom Defenders




The Story of the United States Armed-Forces in Europe is the tale of General George Washington’s Continental Army …..and the French Idealistic Commander, General de Lafayette. 

It is the story of greatest Army in the World, the United States Army,  who has defended Europe from long centuries ago…..until the present time in an unconditional ways.

It is the story of the greatest partnerships of U.S-European Armed-Forces, the formation of the closest allies fighting in the same battlegrounds for keeping the light of freedom …….and humanity alive.  It is the story of U.S-European shared values….shared ideals and belief that unite us beyond the time and the geographical regions.

The story of the United States Armed Forces in Europe is the story of Freedom Defenders, ...the tale of bravery….sacrifices….and heroism that project the well destined triumph, the winning of the hearts and minds.        

Acknowledgment: the U.S flag ©U.S Army National Guard 2016. By Editor in Chief, Catherine S. Schmidt   originally published on June 8th 2020

U.S-NATO Armed Forces in DEFENDER-Europe 22

Defender Europe 22  is one of the most significant multinational training exercises led by U.S Army. The exercise is held every year with the participation of most European armed-forces, NATO allies and partner nations.




Implementing the exercise at the wider scope of shaping and intensifying the operational readiness, the Defender Europe 2022 aims: 

  • To heighten the strategic readiness;
  • To fortify and enhance the interoperability between U.S-NATO allies and partners nations.

This year more than 3,437 service members from the United State are taking part in Defender Europe 22 encompassing: 

From the multi-national armed-forces the number includes 5,193 soldiers from: Denmark, Estonia, Germany, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and Great Britain.

 The exercise is from early May through June, announced by the Army.

 “Defender-Europe and its accompanying and linked exercises explicitly demonstrate our commitment to European security and to maintaining interoperability with our NATO allies and partners,” 

“Through exercises like this, we are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory with a strong, combat-credible force to ensure we stay stronger together in the face of any aggression.” highlighted Gen. Christopher Cavoli, U.S. Army Europe and Africa commanding general. ©US Army Europe and Africa

Acknowledgments: sources ©US Army Europe and Africa.  By Editor in Chief, Catherine S. Schmidt 

The U.S-African Land Forces Summit 2022

African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) is the continuation of U.S. Army’s commitments to African continent. This year the 2022 Summit hosted by the U.S Army Chief of Staff, took place from March 21-25 with the theme on the

                                “Resilient Institutions Build Resilient Leaders”

Official and military leaders from over 40 African countries’ armed-forces, encompassing the representatives of two third of the continent, came to Columbus city -Georgia in the United States to attend  the 10th African Land Forces Summit. 

African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) is a multinational annual military event inaugurated in Washington D.C in 2010 with its theme on “Building and Maintaining Strong Relationships”. ALFS is coordinated by the U.S Army Southern European Task Force Africa ‘SETAF-AF’ and is held each year in different parts of Africa and the United States. 

The Summit extensively aims:

  • To strengthen the U.S- African’s military partnerships and reaffirm the United States commitment to African continent; 
  • To maintain the African continental security, peace and prosperity;
  • To enhance interoperability, cooperation, and the joint efforts;
  • To discussed range of military interests and work on the transregional security challenges. 

In 2018 the summit was attended not only by most African nations but also by the representatives of the NATO member States. 

“There is a popular saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But, if you want to go far, go together’,” said Rohling. “The United States wants to travel together. The United States Army is committed to being a trusted, dependable partner. We highly value our partnerships. We want to strengthen our partnerships and expand new ones.” expressed Major General Andrew Rohling, Commanding General for U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa in the summit 2022

The next year’s African Land Forces Summit will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 

“We look forward to planning the return of the African Land Forces Summit to the African continent in partnership with Division Gen. Aly Justin Dem and the Ivorian Armed Forces,” remarked Major General Andrew Rohling in the closing ceremony  ALFS 2022

Acknowledgment: Image embedded in the twitter: Lt. Col. Kezelee Gwesa, executive officer of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, Armed Forces of Liberia, and Lt. Col. Isaac Henderson, commander of the 1-507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. African Land Forces Summit 2022, Fort Benning, Mar. 22, 2022.©U.S. Army by Sgt. Tianna Field. Sources: U.S Army Europe and Africa/ U.S. Army Southern European Task Force – Africa/United States Africa Command.

By Editor in Chief, Catherine S. Schmidt 

An Exclusive Interview with U.S. European Command (series-2)

An exclusive Interview with the Spokesperson of U.S. European Command conducted by Editor in Chief (Series-2)

Sir, It is a great honor to have you in this interview. Thank you very much for accepting it.

Q 1: U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) is responsible for United States military commitments during peace and war across Europe, parts of Asia, the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean.

  • Can you tell us the necessary steps the USEUCOM has been taking  in the face of Russian invasion of Ukraine? And how effective do you see these measures?

U.S. European Command Spokesperson: To strengthen NATO and reassure our Allies, the United States has recently deployed additional forces to the USEUCOM area of responsibility and now has approximately 100,000 U.S. service members in Europe.

Personnel are being deployed to deter any potential aggression against NATO’s eastern flank and train with host-nation forces. We don’t have aggressive intent toward any country, including Russia and we do not seek confrontation. We want to reiterate that U.S. forces will not fight in Ukraine, but are positioned to defend NATO territory, adhering to our treaty commitments, if needed.

Additionally, NATO recently announced the activation of the NATO Response Force. The U.S. Department of Defense placed a range of multi-mission units in the United States and Europe on a heightened preparedness to deploy status, which increases our readiness to provide the U.S. contribution to the NRF on short notice.

As for effectiveness of these deployments, we have been successful in deterring Russia from weakening the NATO Alliance. Russia’s actions have only made the Alliance stronger. What this means is that we stand ready and postured for a range of contingencies to act swiftly when called upon by the President. We have made commitments to our NATO Allies to reinforce their defenses in the event of further Russian aggression, and we have followed through.

Q 2:  General Edward Vaughan, Deputy Director of Plans, Policy, Strategy and Capabilities at USEUCOM participated in the Black Sea Maritime Forum which took place in Romania in late February.

  • What importance the United States participation in this Forum signifies?

U.S. European Command Spokesperson: The Black Sea Maritime Forum was an important opportunity for leadership from the U.S., NATO, and Black Sea Allies and Partners to discuss regionally-focused security issues. This forum was planned prior to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, however, Russia’s aggression has only underscored the importance of this forum and the collaboration and discussion that occurred there.

Q 3: Another important maritime event that took place in February was the integration of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HSTCSG) with two other European Naval Forces; the French carrier Charles de Gaulle’s (R 91) Task Force 473 and Italian carrier Cavour (C-550) strike groups in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Please talk us through the strategic significance of this maritime integration and partnerships?

U.S. European Command Spokesperson: Tri-carrier operations between three allied aircraft  carrier strike groups strengthens high-end maritime integration and NATO Alliance maritime interchangeability.  These operations specifically enhance maritime domain awareness through information-sharing and provide naval crews and aircraft the opportunity to operate in relatively close water and airspace.

Building shared operational processes allows the NATO Alliance to integrate carrier strike group operations when and where needed to reassure NATO Allies and Partners and enhance the Alliance’s maritime warfare capability.

Q 4: The high-level meetings of the U.S. European Command and the Danish Defence Command were finalized early this month in military headquarters Kastellet in Copenhagen.

  • Please outline what terms and additional military cooperation have been affirmed in this agreement?

U.S. European Command Spokesperson: U.S. European Command and the Danish Defence Command recently held high-level staff talks focused on a variety of security cooperation issues. The United States and Demark cooperate closely to enhance security in the Arctic and Baltic regions. U.S. and Danish forces regularly exercise together and have operated alongside each other in during operations in Europe, Asia, Africa and in the Atlantic. Additionally, Denmark graciously hosts U.S. forces at Thule Air Base in Greenland. While no formal agreements were signed, these staff talks are just another example of the continued cooperation and partnership between the U.S. and Danish militaries.

Q 5: The last question is about the military partnerships between the U.S and Norway. At the beginning of 2022 the United States and Norway have reached a new milestone in security cooperation in the Arctic and High North region.

  • Could you elaborate on this new bilateral security cooperation, and the U.S Norwegian military partnership?

U.S. European Command Spokesperson: The close and continued partnership between the U.S. and Norwegian militaries is nothing new and spans more than 75 years. This close relationship is a testament to our shared ideals and commitment to peace and security in Europe. Each year, Norway sends more than 600 military members to the U.S. each year for training and educational exchange programs under the longest running military exchange partnership between any two nations.  Additionally, Norway has hosted up to 700 U.S. Marines for limited rotational training presence in Vaernes and Setermoen since 2017. This training improves the Marine Corps’ cold weather and mountain readiness in Arctic conditions and also enhances interoperability between U.S. and Norwegian forces.

As an example, more than 3,000 U.S. Marines are currently in Norway participating in Exercise Cold Response. They join some 30,000 military forces from 27 NATO Ally and Partner nations taking part in this Norwegian-led exercise. This is the ninth iteration of this multi-domain extreme cold weather exercise designed to enhance our collective military capabilities in the demanding arctic environment. Our participation in this exercise is another example of our close relationship with Norway and their leadership as NATO’s sentinel in the north.

Acknowledgments: Image-1 U.S flag ©U.S Air Forces Europe-Africa 2016. Image-2 USEUCOM and Denmark military staff talk advanced collective defense, March.04.2022 ©USEUCOM public affairs. The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©U.S. European Command/U.S. Army Europe and Africa /U.S Army/ U.S.NATO/U.S Europe World Affairs.

January-February Newsletter

Dear all, the January-February’s Newsletter with the spotlight ‘Interview with the NATO Air Command Spokesman’ has been just published. You can view it on the Newsletters page.  Have a safe, happy and blessed week ahead.  Editor in Chief


The International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference Hosted by U.S European Command

This year’s International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference ‘IMCCC’ took place on the virtual platform from February2-3, hosted by the United States (U.S European Command). The conference brought together over 100 military chaplains from 40 countries of NATO members and partner nations across the world.

The theme of this year evolved on ‘Religious Freedom’ 

“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and the first among rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, as well as many constitutions in the world.”……….

“Religious freedom provides the right to think, express, and act upon what one deeply believes.” highlighted USEUCOM Chaplain (U.S. Air Force Col.) Kleet Barclay. ©USEUCOM Feb.04. 2022

The IMCCC is an annual event established and hosted originally by the U.S European Command ‘USEUCOM’ in Stuttgart in February 1990. Since then the conference has been held every year in different parts of the world hosted by the members and representatives of NATO states and partner nations. The United States ‘USEUCOM’ supports the conference as its co-host every year.

One of the main spheres of this yearly military event is to explore and build the shared values, spirituality, religious support, understanding of other faiths and beliefs , and enduring friendship.

“We are deeply unified by our shared human connection of faith and yearning for peace.” expressed Dr. Franz-Josef Overbeck, the Catholic bishop of the German armed forces in The International Military Chiefs of Chaplains Conference in 2020 © U.S Army


By  Catherine S. Schmidt, Editor in Chief  

Sources: U.S European Command/U.S. Air Force Captain Christina Judd/U.S Army

U.S National Guard and its State Partnership Program-5 Vermont National Guard

Since its establishment in 1993 by the department of Defense, and implemented by the various State’s National Guards, the State Partnerships program (SPP) has been a pivotal contributor to the world’s stability, security and peace. Up to the recent times, the State Partnership Program has reached over 85 partnerships with 92 nations across the globe, creating the most comprehensive U.S military cooperation and partnerships with the world.

Vermont National Guard is among the five States National Guards which have three State Partnership Programs, by having its ‘SPP’ in two continents, three countries. From 1993 with the North Macedonia; from 2008 with the Republic of Senegal. And in October 2021 formed a new State Partnership Programs with the Republic of Austria.   “I am excited to see our new partnership with Austria facilitate cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encourage people-to-people ties at the state level. And I of course look forward to welcoming our new friends from Austria to Vermont.” Elaborated Lt. Governor Gray on the Vermont National Guard and the Republic of Austria State Partnership, October 15, 2021 ©Office of the Lieutenant Governor of State of Vermont

Vermont’s cooperation with North Macedonia, as part of the National Guard’s state partnership program, has been a long, challenging, and very successful journey for over 26 years,” expressed U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont’s adjutant general. March 2020 ©Vermont National Guard 

In additional to the State Partnership Program, the Vermont National Guard has been part of the U.S deployment in support of U.S military and NATO operations including:

  • In Romania, to support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan
  • In Kosovo, in support of NATO-led KFOR operation
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, in support of NATO-led peacekeeping
  • Horn of Africa Djibouti, in support of Combined Joint Task Force

Added to that, around the globe in different continents and regions–the Vermont National Guard has been simultaneously an indispensable contributor to the large number of humanitarian relief operations. Just to name a few in the recent epoch: building bridges, schools and assisting educational and economic development projects, hosting medical and military training and exercises, supporting Afghanistan evacuation, supporting the Department of State temporarily housing for the Afghan evacuees.


By Editor in Chief 

Acknowledgments: Image: senior leaders with the Vermont National Guard, Austrian Defence Attache staff and personnel from the Office of the Secretary of Defense outside the Pentagon on Oct. 15, 2021.©Vermont National Guard public affairs/Courtesy photo. Sources: Vermont National Guard, National Guard, and U.S Army.

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