******UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

Another one of these feel-good “troops heading to Kosovo” stories. And after eight to ten months, we’ll be treated to coverage of their welcome-home by family and higher-ups, talking about how proud they are of them. (See ad nauseum here, here, here, here here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for just a taste.)

Fort Bragg soldiers prepare to deploy to Kosovo (Fayetteville Observer, Feb. 28, By Drew Brooks)

…Several hundred soldiers with the brigade headquarters and 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, will deploy this spring to Kosovo, officials said.

The Kosovo mission is one that has been largely forgotten by the public, overshadowed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and maintained by National Guard and Army Reserve troops.

Always that sentence. Imagine the frustration of being someone who for 14 years — from the moment the war “ended” — has been trying to make sure people don’t forget that war, and the abominable “mission”afterwards. And still seeing that sentence in every other article. A testament to one’s limited reach without succumbing to the twin scourges of Twitter and Facebook. Here was that sentence just on Feb. 13th from the Le Monde website:

“Who remembers Kosovo? The 1999 war. NATO bombing of Serbia. The international contingent – the KFOR – and UN administration.”

And here it was in September 2011: “This weekend, 44 more members [of the NJ National Guard helicopter crew] are heading out to join one of the longest-running, most successful and nearly forgotten missions.”

Who remembers that “largely forgotten” war? That place called Kosovo, which Americans swear they never heard of until you tell them it’s where that 1999 Clinton war took place. That “insignificant” little war, which also happens to have been the last European war of the 20th Century. And the first NATO war, as author William J. Buckley pointed out in his 2000 book Kosovo: Contending Voices on Balkan Interventions. The last European war and the first NATO war, which happened to be led by the U.S. It was also our most recent pre-9/11 war. That in itself is significant, particularly if you consider that our last pre-9/11 war found us making common cause with Osama bin Laden, who was arming and training the KLA as we were doing the same. Indeed, our operatives even installed CIA-protected, full-fledged jihadists to head KLA training units, to the puzzlement and sometimes consternation of the more secular terrorists of the KLA (though not to the more religious among them).

Back to the article:

When the 525th deploys to take command of Multi-National Battle Group East, it’s believed it will be the first active Army unit to hold that post in roughly a decade.

“It’s been managed largely by our Guard and Reserve forces, who’ve done an amazing job,” said Col. Xavier Brunson, the 525th commander.

Amayyyyyyyzing! Someone’s been watching too much “American Idol.” More seriously, let’s take note of this possibly significant revelation: the first active Army unit to go to Kosovo in roughly a decade. Could we be bringing in the big guns to seal the deal? Given that we are in the do-or-die stages of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, are we sending in the REAL Army as insurance in case things don’t get resolved non-violently, risking further delays in delivering for the Albanians? We started it with the real Army and, it seems, we’re going to end it with the real Army.

Brunson, a Fayetteville native, will not deploy with the brigade. He will turn over the 525th to Col. Dave Woods at a ceremony in March.

Ah, the ceremonialism involved in sending off our troops to demean and bludgeon our centuries-long allies.

But he has overseen training for the deployment and said Kosovo will present challenges for the brigade, which originally was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan…. “It takes a new mindset,” he said. Firefights, while not uncommon in Afghanistan, are expected to be virtually nonexistent in Kosovo, Brunson said. Instead, his soldiers will work with local officials to help ensure freedom of movement between ethnic enclaves. [There goes that stock phrase.]

“How can we help them?” Brunson said. “We might not be the doers. We might be the informers. We want to make sure that it’s [cue next stock phrase:] safe and secure and that we can let people get to where they need to go.”

Kosovo is a relatively new nation in the Balkan Peninsula of eastern Europe, north of Greece. [Not just relatively new, but SO new that it’s not even a nation.] It declared independence on Feb. 17, 2008.

The U.S. presence in the country dates to the late 1990s, when NATO forces and other partner nations deployed as a peacekeeping force to ease tensions between Kosovo and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Ease tensions! Bombing a country on behalf of its domestic terrorists is “easing tensions.” Only in America, Kids. Only in America.

…Brunson said he was preparing to leave a NATO base with other officials and wore his helmet and body armor to the vehicle. The other officials told him the armor wasn’t needed.

The deployment, set for this spring, will last about nine months, Brunson said…Other assets will fall under the 525th, including an aviation unit from the Utah National Guard and a task force of medical units.

The soldiers will replace the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, a South Carolina National Guard unit based in Charleston. Brunson said the 218th leadership has been helpful in the brigade’s training.

“We had to learn and understand crowd control and riot control,” Brunson. “And we want them to be able to communicate clearly.”

Brunson said many of his soldiers could not find Kosovo on a map when they were told of the mission, but they have since embraced the deployment.

Well if that don’t make my point!

“There was a minute of ‘What?’ ” Brunson said. “Now, it’s ‘Let’s get about it.’ ”

“Young kids really take to this mission because it’s something different,” he said. “They want to do well. It’s certainly different.”

Brunson said that after the Super Bowl, he found a group of soldiers discussing not the big game but the gross domestic product of Kosovo.

“It’s something few have done,” he said. “There’s nothing like seeing a young soldier get excited about a mission.”

Sure, it’s the coolest of all missions: You’re not the target of your target, so you probably won’t get hurt. But you get to shoot at people who never had anything against you. It’s a dream mission. It’s like playing a friggin’ video game.

And the skills they learn in Kosovo will be invaluable in the new, postwar realities of the military after Iraq and Afghanistan, Brunson said. […]

Staff writer Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.

If he only knew just what an ominous foreshadowing that sentence is. The new realities — or use — of Western militaries, for which the Balkans was the experimental grounds: borderlessness, stripping of national identity, international oversight, population shifting/ethnic cleansing, subversion of national constitutions and international law, the end of the nation-state. You know, the sort of thing American citizens just might rise up against. Which would of course require “crowd control.”


Just an additional report:

Fort Bragg Brigade Prepares for Deployment to Kosovo
The 525th BfSB [Battlefield Surveillance Brigade] will support the NATO mission.
(March 12, Contributed by Fort Bragg Public Affairs, Ben Abel, for Defense News)

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — For the first time in more than 10 years, an active Army unit will lead the Kosovo peacekeeping operations in the Multi-National Brigade East area, taking over responsibility for the region from members of the South Carolina National Guard.

The deployment of an active unit is a cost savings for the Army, officials said, as well as a much-needed reprieve from the high deployment tempo National Guard and Reserve units have experienced in the past decade, filling roles previously met by the active component.

[525th BfSB commander Col. Xavier T.] Brunson is confident that the entirety of his command, to include the Family Readiness network, is well prepared for this deployment.

“The families of the 525th BfSB Soldiers will continue to be fully taken care of by the robust rear detachment and taking care of the Army Family is a no-fail mission,” said Brunson.

What?? I don’t speak Militarese.