Task Force Falcon
Multi-National Brigade (East)
Since June 11, 1999, the United States European Command has provided U.S. forces and logistical support to Operation Joint Guardian, the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) currently includes forces from the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Canada, and Ukraine. Task Force Falcon is the nickname for the U.S. forces assigned to KFOR.
The United States agreed to provide a force of approximately 7,000 U.S. personnel as part of the NATO KFOR to help maintain a capable military force in Kosovo and to ensure the safe return of Kosovar refugees. The U.S. supports KFOR by providing the headquarters and troops for one of the five NATO sectors. The U.S. also provides personnel, units and equipment to other components of the KFOR organization.
Task Force Falcon was formed Feb. 5, 1999, when the 1st Infantry Division(ID) was notified of a possible deployment to conduct peace support operations in Kosovo. The task force, after conducting a command post exercise and a mission rehearsal exercise during February and March, was declared mission-ready and deployed a command and control element forward to Camp Able Sentry, Macedonia. Following the signing of the Military Technical Agreement(MTA) on June 9, 1999, Task Force Falcon deployed forces from Central Region in the largest combined air-rail-sea-road movement since Operation Desert Storm. Task Force Falcon advance elements entered Kosovo on June 12, 1999, as part of Operation Joint Guardian, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. The Task Force Falcon headquarters was operational at the future Camp Bondsteel on June 16, 1999.
Forces from the U.S. and Greece composed the Initial Entry Force(IEF), with the headquarters built around the assault command post from the 1st ID and the Big Red One's Schweinfurt-based 2nd ("Dagger") Brigade Combat Team(2nd BCT). Operating under the command and control of Joint Task Force Noble Anvil and the Operational Control of KFOR, the IEF consisted of forces from the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment from Fort Bragg, N.C; the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejune, N.C.; the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment from Schweinfurt Germany, Echo Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment, also from Schweinfurt, Germany; and the 501st Mechanized Infantry Battalion from Greece. Task Force 12, built around the 12thAviation Group from Wiesbaden, Germany, and the 16th Corps Support Group from Hanau, Germany supported operations from Camp Able Sentry.
As the VJ/MUP forces redeployed out of Kosovo in accordance with the MTA, Task Force Falcon soldiers, airmen and marines monitored their withdrawal and ensured compliance with the agreement. Withdrawal was complete on June 20, and the focus of operations shifted to enforce the undertaking of demilitarization and transformation of the UCK, which was signed on June, 21. Additional forces arrived from Central Region, principal elements of the BRO's 2nd BCT from Schweinfurt, Germany, including the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor, the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, the 9th Engineer Battalion, and the 299th Forward Support Battalion. Other major units were the 94th Engineer Battalion from Vilseck, Germany and the 18th Air Assault Battalion from Poland. On July 10, the 1st Bn, 26th Inf. Regt. conducted a relief in place to allow the 26th MEU to re-deploy. Throughout the next week, both the 1st Bn., 77th Armor and the 18th Air Assault Battalion relieved the 2nd Bn., 505th Parachute Inf. Regt. of portions of its sector. The 13th Russian Tactical Group relieved the 1 Bn., 26th Inf. Regt. of portions of its sector on July 28 and the 2nd Bn., 1st Avn. from Katterbach, Germany, relieved Task Force 12 on Aug. 2.
In September 1999, 2nd Bn. 505th Parachute Inf. Regt., re-deployed to the U.S. and was replaced by a sister battalion, the 3rd Bn. 504th Parachute Inf. Regt. Recognizing a need in October to increase the available combat power in the vicinity of Gnjilane, the leadership of Task Force Falcon reorganized the battalion task force sectors in the MNB(E) area of responsibility. The 501st Mechanized Greek Battalion assumed a larger portion of the Urosevac Opstina, which enabled 3rd Bn. 504th Parachute Inf. Regt. to enlarge their sector to include the Vitina Opstina. Task Force 1st Bn.-77th Armor then conducted a relief in place with Task Force 1st Bn. 26th Infantry and assumed responsibility for the Opstina of Novo Brdo and the northern half of the Gnjilane Opstina. This enabled Task Force 1st Bn. 26th Inf. to concentrate their force in the southern half of the Opstina.
Following months of deliberate planning and detailed rehearsals, KFOR 1B built around the 3rd BCT from the 1st Inf. Div., conducted relief in place operations and assumed responsibility for the MNB(E) area of responsibility on 12 December 1999. The transition saw Task Force 1 Bn., 63rd, Armor replace Task Force 1st Bn., 77th, Armor and Task Force 2nd Bn., 2nd Infantry fell in on what was Task Force 1st Bn., 26th Infantry's sector in southern Gnjilane. During this same period, Task Force 1st Bn., 1st Aviation relieved Task Force 2nd Bn., 1st Aviation, 1st Bn. 6th , Field Artillery Battalion replaced 1 Bn. 7th FA, and the 201st FSB replaced the 299th FSB. Also on Dec. 12, as part of the transfer of authority ceremony, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez assumed command of MNB(E) from Brig. Gen. Craig Peterson. Today, Task Force Falcon continues to conduct Peace Operations in Kosovo in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 under the Operational Control of the NATO-led KFOR, to ensure a safe and secure environment is maintained to enable the establishment of a stable society. The Falcon, a well-trained and equipped multinational force of allies, remains ever vigilant and ready to act with all means available to successfully carry out its peacekeeping mission.
The U.S. sector (Multinational Brigade East) is in southeast Kosovo. Headquarters for U.S. forces is located at Camp Bondsteel, near Urosevic.
On December 12, 1999, authority of the Multinational Brigade (East) was transferred from Brig. Gen. Craig A. Peterson, U.S. Army, to Brig. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. Sanchez is the 1st Infantry Division's Assistant Division Commander for Support, Schweinfurt, Germany. Peterson had commanded the MNB(E) since August 12, 1999, and replaced Brigadier General Bantz Johnson Craddock, U.S. Army, who commanded Task Force Falcon June 10 to August 11, 1999. Command of Kosovo Force's American Sector was passed from the 1st Infantry Division to the 1st Armor Division in a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, June 20, 2000. 1st Infantry Division Assistant Division Commander for Support Brig. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez handed the NATO flag to KFOR Eurocorps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Juan Ortuno, who in turn handed it to 1st Armored Division Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver Brig. Gen. Randal Tieszen, signifying the division's take over of KFOR's American Sector in Kosovo.
In July 2000, command of MNB(E) was transferred to Brig. Gen. Dennis Hardy who finished his rotation on Dec. 15, 2000. Task Force Falcon is currently the responsibility of the 1st Armored Division under the command of Brig. Gen. Kenneth Quinlan.
Task Force Falcon is in Kosovo to enforce all aspects of the Military Technical Agreement, with a primary function of providing a safe and secure environment to the residents.
MNB(E) has conducted countless patrols enabling citizens of Kosovo to return to their farms and businesses because of increased freedom of movement, further moving towards normalcy.
MNB (E) and UNMIK-Police have worked closely with the Kosovo Police Service in the region. MNB (E) has jointly investigated numerous reports of criminal activity and suspicious activities. The region is safer now than before, with less illegal activity, and a decrease in violent inter-ethnic crime, allowing the re-building of infrastructure to progress and the economy to improve. MNB (E) has also transitioned security responsibility for some patrimonial sites to KPS and UNMIK-P.
MNB (E) has initiated, managed and accomplished numerous civil affairs and humanitarian assistance missions, resulting in a substantial improvement in the quality of life for countless numbers of citizens in sector. Civil affairs continue their mission.
MNB (E) successfully advanced the peace process in countless ways. Multi-ethnic cooperation continues to grow. MNB (E) soldiers continue their efforts to integrate minorities into Kosovar society. They have sponsored minority-shopping days in towns throughout the sector ad oversaw the induction of the first Serbian men into the Kosovo Protection Corps in April 2001.
In June of 2001, MNB (E) soldiers oversaw the reduction of the Ground Safety Zone, a 5-kilometer buffer zone created to separate forces/factions between Kosovo and FRY. MNB (E) soldiers continued monitoring activities along Sector B of the GSZ and ensured the FRY presence was a positive step toward the stabilization of the situation in Kosovo.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|