An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Vermont National Guard Logo News
Articles
News | July 11, 2021

Vermont Soldiers arrive in Kosovo

By Sgt. Gloria Kamencik KFOR Regional Command East

Greetings from Kosovo!

After spending about two weeks at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, Soldiers mainly from the Vermont National Guard once again packed up and moved out! We give a huge ‘thank you!’ to the full-time staff at JMRC for all their help preparing us for our mission in Kosovo. As we took the beautiful bus ride back to Nuremberg, Germany, we realized we were ready to fly to Pristina, Kosovo for our Kosovo Force (KFOR) 29 mission.

Upon arrival to Pristina, we exited the plane and walked single file across the tarmac into the welcome center. In this moment it finally hit me that we had arrived for a mission we had prepared over a year for. After a quick break, all the bags were loaded up, we got onto a bus and headed out. Vermont Soldiers are located in various locations across Kosovo Including Camp Bondsteel where we’re located.

Before coming to Kosovo, there was an expectation that the climate is similar to that of Vermont. Instead, we were hit with humidity and an unrelenting sun, better compared to the Southeastern United States or Vermont on one of its hottest, clearest summer days. During the bus ride we passed through several populated areas. There are active agricultural farms being sewed and watered with irrigation systems, restaurants with an American name and focus, and others with local foods and dishes. There are vegetable stands and lots of construction projects throughout the area.

We arrived at Camp Bondsteel after a 40-minute drive. Looming over the entirety of Bondsteel is Mount Ljunoten, or “Big Duke”, with its high jagged peaks that reach 8,196 feet in elevation. Standing at the top of a hill by the track you get a 360-degree view of Camp Bondsteel and the surrounding area. Through a constant haze you can see clusters of white buildings with red clay roofs nestled in the valley. The surrounding fields are rectangles of gold, like wheat, and lush green.

Our bags were neatly unloaded between one of the many rows of barracks buildings while we stood in line for room keys and schedules. Everyone grabbed their gear, found their rooms, and began to settle in. The rooms are either a small single or a larger room that could fit up to four soldiers. Provided in the rooms are beds, a fridge, wall lockers and desks. At the bottom of the barracks buildings and the open fields to the south towards Mount Duke is the heart of Camp Bondsteel. There are volleyball courts, soccer and softball games, ping pong, fitness facilities and the Morale Welfare and Recreational building that hosts various events helping Soldiers unwind.

After settling in we connected with our counterparts from KFOR28 and started to learn the ropes. They signed over office keys, showed us where to bring vehicles for maintenance, went over policies and procedures and showed us products from their rotation, so we could set our expectations. They provided details and information to ensure we hit the ground running.

We are excited and ready to begin our rotation officially known as KFOR29, and experience everything Kosovo has to offer. We will provide similar updates throughout our deployment, and you can always follow us on Facebook @172PAD, @86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team - Mountain and @KFOR Regional Command East.
 

National Guard News
The South Carolina National Guard helped its State Partnership Program partner, Colombia, respond to dozens of fires in the Bogota area in January 2024 by providing helicopter buckets used to drop water or retardant.
South Carolina Guard Comes to Aid of Partner Colombia
By South Carolina National Guard, | Feb. 14, 2024
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina National Guard is assisting Colombia, its State Partnership Program partner, in dealing with dozens of wildfires. To help emergency responders battle as many as 30 active fires in and...

Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, conduct an engineer exchange with Republic of Tajikistan military and law enforcement personnel Jan. 22-26, 2024, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Virginia Airmen Conduct Engineer Exchange in Tajikistan
By Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Feb. 14, 2024
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, 192nd Wing, conducted an engineer exchange with Republic of Tajikistan...

Lt. Gen. Marc Sasseville listens as Capt. Josh Hunsinger briefs on daily operations, missions, and the proud heritage of the Communications Squadron, Bangor Air National Guard Base, Maine, Feb. 3, 2024. Sasseville toured the Wing and met with the MAINEiacs as part of a multiday event.
Guard Vice Chief Emphasizes Cyber Readiness During Maine Visit
By Capt. Jon LaDue, | Feb. 14, 2024
BANGOR, Maine - The National Guard’s motto is “Always Ready, Always There,” and for one group of Maine National Guardsmen, being “there” is a loose term with no specific battlefield or location in mind. Being ready is a...

Army Maj. Gen. Haldane Lamberton speaks to the senior leaders from the Kentucky National Guard and the Armed Forces of Ecuador in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 30, 2024. Over four days, the Ecuadorians visited multiple locations in Frankfort, participated in briefings with Kentucky Emergency Management, toured the capitol, and met Gov. Andy Beshear.
Kentucky Guard Hosts Ecuadorian Military for Leader Engagement
By Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Crane, | Feb. 14, 2024
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Senior Kentucky National Guard leaders welcomed military personnel from the Armed Forces of Ecuador in a State Partnership Program exchange Jan. 30-Feb. 1.Eight senior officials representing Ecuador’s Army,...

Nebraska Army National Guard Maj. Jessica Pan poses with her husband and three children after her promotion ceremony to the rank of major, Feb. 22, 2023, at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Pan was named as the U.S. Africa Command Bilateral Affairs Officer of the Year for 2023.
Nebraska Guardsman Honored for State Partnership in Rwanda
By Staff Sgt. Lisa Crawford, | Feb. 13, 2024
LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska Army National Guard Maj. Jessica Pan is the Bilateral Affairs Officer of the Year for 2023, U.S. Africa Command announced.Bilateral affairs officers reside in a country and are responsible for the...