Operation Shining Hope
Operation Sustain Hope / Allied Harbor
Operation Provide Refuge
Operation Open Arms
The preparation for the deployment of a NATO force to Albania to conduct a humanitarian mission began on 7 April, when a NATO team led by Mag. Gen. Pasqualino Verdecchia, ITA deployed from Headquarters Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH) to co-ordinate NATO plans with Albanian and international authorities. A team of the AMF(L) (Allied Command Europe Mobile Force/Land) led by the AMF(L) commander, Lt.Gen. John Reith, arrived in Tirana on 10 April to make final preparations for the deployment of this NATO Immediate Reaction (Land) headquarters. Lt. Gen. Reith conducted meetings with senior Albanian and international authorities while his staff conducted reconnaissance to make final recommendations about the location of headquarters and deployment of the force. The AMF(L) is a NATO Headquarters capable of readily deploying a land force at short notice. Ten nations contribute to its staff while all NATO nations contribute forces. For Operation Allied Harbour the composition of the force was decided at a Force generation conference at SHAPE.
Some elements of the force of Allied Harbour were already in place at the time of the reconnaissance as part of national contingents deployed by NATO nations (for example 450 from France, 200 from Germany, 230 from Greece, 830 from the United States, 1,100 from Italy, while Belgium, Canadian and Dutch contingents were already en route.
On April 13, 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) approved plans for Operation Allied Harbour, a 10,000-troop NATO deployment to support humanitarian relief efforts for refugees resulting from the Serb expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. The AMF(L) Headquarters began deployment on 14 April 1999. On 15 April NATO announced that rules of engagement for this Operation were approved by the North Atlantic Council and that, following the reconnaissance mission by AFSOUTH in Albania, the number of forces to be assigned to Allied Harbour were planned to be about 7,300. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe ordered the execution of Operation Allied Harbour on 16 April 1999. In turn, the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe transferred to the Commander of AMF(L), Lt. Gen. John Reith, authority over all NATO-led forces operating in Albania as part of this operation. In this respect, Lt. Gen. Reith is the Commander, Albanian Force (AFOR). The AFOR Headquarters is located at Plepa, near Durres (Albania). The mission of the operation is to provide humanitarian assistance in support of, and in close coordination with, the UNHCR and Albanian civil and military authorities, to alleviate the suffering of those who were forced to leave their homes in Kosovo and flee to Albania. As of 10 May 1999 forces were provided by Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.
On 15 April NATO announced that rules of engagement for this Operation were approved by the North Atlantic Council and that, following the reconnaissance mission by AFSOUTH in Albania, the number of forces to be assigned to Allied Harbour were planned to be about 7,300.
The force (approximately 8,000) has been divided into task groups and a leading nation was appointed for each of them:
- Task Force N (Italy)
- Task Force S: (France)
- Task Force R: (Netherlands/Belgium)
- Task Force W: (Spain)
- Task Force Shining Hope (US)
Projects considered by the Force include:
- Costruction of Camps, providing interim shelter.
- Engineer support to repair selected roads, airfield, or other appropriate infrastruture.
- Provide transportation for refugee movement by both ground vehicles and in special cases by air (to include emergency medical evacuation).
- Assist in transportation and distribution of food, water and supplies.
- Electronic communication support as required.
In particular, ongoing projects include:
- Refugee camps:
- Fier: US engineers opened on 12 May a camp. Refugee flow is 400 per day the first week, 800 per day the second week. Total capacity will be up to 20.000 (by June).
- Elbasan: French troops work in aid of British camp.
- Korce: French troops are preparing the site for a camp for up to 9,000.
- Poiske: Greek engineers are completing construction of a camp.
- Vlore: Ducth units and Red Cross finished a camp for 4,500.
- Rrashbull: Italian engineers are constructing two camps for 4,000 and 400 refugees.
- North of Durres: Spanish engineers will open a camp at Hamallaj.
- Road, infrastructure repairs:
- Kukes: Italian engineers repairing road collapses. Dutch trucks transport WFP aid to Kukes and help UNHCR in relocating refugees.
- Tirana: US engineersto repair access road to Rinas airport.
- Durres: Dutch troops to construct harbour logisitc base.
The United States contribution to Allied Harbour is Joint Task Force (JTF) Shining Hope. The mission of JTF Shining Hope is to conduct foreign humanitarian assistance operations in support of US government agencies and non-governmental and international organizations engaged in providing humanitarian relief to Kosovar refugees in Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). JTF Shining Hope is commanded by Major General William S. Hinton Jr., United States Air Force.
The United States continues to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other relief organizations to ensure a comprehensive and adequate response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the ethnic cleansing and atrocities now being conducted by Serb forces.
US and other NATO military forces provide support for humanitarian operations in a variety of ways, to include air and surface transportation of relief supplies and equipment, camp preparation, shelter construction, security, and other tasks uniquely suited to military forces. To date, the Department of Defense has pledged over $25 million in humanitarian assistance, which, in addition to the above, also includes food (humanitarian daily rations), shelter (tents), bedding, medical supplies, and vehicles.
Operation Sustain Hope is the US humanitarian effort to bring in food, water, medicine and relief supplies for the refugees fleeing from the Former Republic of Yugoslavia into Albania and Macedonia. The overall objective of Operation Sustain Hope is to maintain stability in the region and prevent a humanitarian disaster resulting from the ongoing offensive against the people of Kosovo. The specific military mission of the forces deployed is to support disaster relief operations to aid in the care and protection of Kosovar refugees and to provide for their own security. The number of U.S. personnel who will be deployed for these purposes was initially uncertain, since planning for the deployment is ongoing, but at a minimum a deployment of 1,000 personnel was anticipated. Headquarters elements, air crews, airlift control elements, selected transport and rotary wing aircraft, security personnel, civil affairs and psychological operations personnel, medical and engineer forces, and logistics support forces may become involved in the operation. These forces will operate under U.S. and NATO operational control.
Before the Serbian offensive began, the United States pre-positioned 36,000 metric tons of food in the region -- enough to feed half a million people for three months. The US worked with the United nations to ready life-saving supplies at Kosovo's borders with Albania and Macedonia. President Clinton authorized an additional $50 million in emergency aid to augment U.S. contributions to the U.N. High Commission on Refugees and other relief organizations. It will also ensure the military can help them get aid to the people in need. Throughout the week, civilian contract 747 aircraft are slated to carry more rations to Europe where they will be transferred to U.S. military aircraft for transport to the Balkans. In Europe, U.S. European Command officials are shipping 80 U.S. military trucks and 30 State Department trucks to Albania to help move supplies from ports and airports to the people who need them. The Defense Department is airlifting 500,000 humanitarian daily rations to the Balkans, and more are ready to go if needed. The flights were bound for Italy, where the supplies would be transported to Albania. The plan is to move the rations into Tirana, Albania. The US will be flying ten missions daily by C-130 aircraft to Italy -- from Italy to Tirana, and taking supplies from there to the border by helicopter.
"Task Force Open Arms" is a $100-million effort to airlift as many as 20,000 Kosovo refugees to safety in the United States until they can return to their homes. The refugees arrive at the Ft. Dix army base in New Jersey, where they stay for about three weeks to complete legal processing before being placed with host families around the country. At Ft. Dix, American Red Cross relief workers are providing care and comfort for the refugees by registering families as they arrive and providing translation services, mental health support, beverages, snacks, childcare and recreational activities.
Sources and Methods
- Operation Allied Harbour / JTF Shining Hope @ EUCOM
- Operation Allied Harbour @ AFSOUTH
- Operation Provide Refuge @ DefenseLink
- Operation Provide Refuge
- Statement by the President on Kosovo April 5, 1999
- TEXT: CLINTON LETTER TO CONGRESS ON REFUGEE RELIEF FOR THE BALKANS 03 April 1999 -- President Clinton has informed Congress that he plans to send at least 1,000 U.S. military support personnel to Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to support efforts to provide disaster relief to the thousands of refugees who have poured into those countries from Kosovo.
- Ramstein supports humanitarian efforts for Kosovar refugees 5 Apr 1999 (AFPN) -- Six 86th Airlift Wing C-130s from Ramstein Air Base, Germany carried humanitarian aid and personnel in the early hours of Easter Sunday to Tirana, Albania, and Skopje, Macedonia, to support further relief operations for Kosavar Albanian refugees.
- Air Force flies relief supplies to Macedonia, Albania 5 Apr 1999 (AFPN) -- Air Force cargo planes began airlifting supplies and people early Easter Sunday in an effort to bring relief to the growing number of displaced Kosovar Albanians in Macedonia and Albania.
- Airlift under way for 'Shining Hope' 5 Apr 1999 (AFPN) -- Thousands of tons of food and tents made their way to Kosovar refugees as part of Joint Task Force Shining Hope. Air Force military and contract aircraft carried about half a million humanitarian daily rations and 700 large tents to people in Macedonia and Albania, who have fled from Serb attacks in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
- UNHCR Kosovo Crisis Update 05 April 1999 - The total number of Kosovars who have left the province since March 24 is nearly 400,000, including 226,000 in Albania, 120,000 in Macedonia, 35,700 in Montenegro, 7,900 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 6,000 in Turkey.
- 'Sustain Hope' spearheads refugee relief 6 Apr 1999 (AFPN) -- With thousands of refugees crowding into enclaves on embattled Kosovo's borders, NATO has responded with Joint Task Force Sustain Hope. Many Air Mobility Command missions have delivered, or will soon deliver, large quantities of food and shelter for distribution to the refugees.
- 'Sustain Hope' spearheads refugee relief 6 Apr 1999 (AFPN) -- With thousands of refugees crowding into enclaves on embattled Kosovo's borders, NATO has responded with Joint Task Force Sustain Hope.
- Travis supports NATO operations April 14, 1999 (AMCNS) -- In Shining Hope, Kosovar refugees will be airlifted from Europe to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sustain Hope involves the delivery of relief supplies to those refugees while they are still in Europe.
- JTF Shining Hope lifeline for Kosovar refugees Released: 20 Apr 1999 U.S. Air Forces in Europe News Service Joint Task Force Shining Hope continues to be a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Kosovars seeking refuge in Albania and Macedonia.
- At Fort Dix, a New Ellis Island Embraces Kosovo's Refugees New York Times 09 May 1999 -- In less than a week, Fort Dix has been transformed from an Army base into a kind of sprawling Ellis Island, gearing up to be the gateway to America for almost 20,000 Albanian refugees. The military has named the relief operation Open Arms.
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