California National Guard Commander Visits Troops in Kosovo
November 16, 2009
Multi-National Task Force-East
116th Public Affairs Detachment
News Release 09-028
For Immediate Release
Nov. 16, 2009
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California National Guard Commander Visits Troops in Kosovo
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo --The commander of the California National Guard took time recently to personally thank his state's Citizen-Soldiers, who've been deployed here for more than nine months, for helping to maintain peace in Kosovo, and encouraged a new group of California Guardsmen to continue the effort.
Maj. Gen. William H. Wade II, California National Guard adjutant general, recently spent two days in Kosovo, visiting troops from the Sunshine State and holding high-level meetings with NATO KFOR (Kosovo Forces) commanders and the U.S. Ambassador here.
The general was an honored guest at a Transfer-of-Authority ceremony at Camp Bondsteel, where California National Guard's Brig. Gen. Keith D. Jones handed over responsibility for NATO's Multi-National Task Force-East (MNTF-E) sector to Brig. Gen. Alan S. Dohrmann, commander of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade of the North Dakota National Guard.
Maj. Gen. Wade was joined at the ceremony by Brig. Gen. Scott W. Johnson, 40th Infantry Division commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Andreas Roman, 40th ID senior enlisted leader; Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Clark, senior enlisted advisor to the California adjutant general; Maj. Gen. David A. Sprynczynatyk, the adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard; Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Job, senior enlisted leader for Joint Force Headquarters, North Dakota National Guard; and German Lt. Gen. Markus Bentler, commander of NATO forces in Kosovo.
The ceremony marked the official departure of about 1,500 Soldiers, primarily from California's 40th ID (Forward), for which Maj. Gen. Wade served as commanding general in 2005.
The 40th ID Soldiers (Forward), based out of Los Alamitos, Calif., arrived in Kosovo in February 2009.
Kosovo is familiar territory for Maj. Gen. Wade. He served as commanding general of MNTF-E, KFOR 6B, from March 2005 to August 2005.
"We've made great strides and the State of California is extremely proud of all 1,500 soldiers from the State of California and what they've done to continue the great work that was started back in 2005 with the first California rotation, Maj. Gen. Wade said.
The incoming task force has its own share of California National Guard members. The 1-144th Field Artillery Battalion, based in the Los Angeles area, is one of the new task force's largest subordinate units.
During his stay in Kosovo, Maj. Gen. Wade held a town-hall-style meeting with 150 Soldiers from the 1-144th, who got a chance to ask the general questions and tell him what's on their mind. The next morning, he sat down for breakfast with Soldiers and met with 1-144th leadership.
"There is still a lot of work to be done. Kosovo is moving in the right direction," Maj. Gen. Wade said. "They're making great strides in order to attain a lasting peace, and they will be a part of making history here in this very important part of the world.
"There have been many friendships, many partnerships that have been built here, and things will only get better from here. I just told them to continue the great work that has been done by so many rotations before them."
Maj. Gen. Wade assumed duties as the adjutant general, Joint Force Headquarters, California National Guard on Sept. 1, 2005. As a member of the Governor's Cabinet, he is responsible for the operation of the State Military Department, comprising more than 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the California National Guard and State Military Reserve.
Multi-National Task Force - East is a U.S.-led task force, commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. The Headquarters is the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from North Dakota. MNTF-E includes nearly 2,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force PPOL/U KR (Polish/ Ukraine). The charter mission of MNTF-E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo.
Please contact the MNTF-E Public Affairs office at the above phone numbers/e-mail for media engagements or to follow-up on this information.
Selected quotes from California Soldiers in Kosovo:
Spc. Darnell M. Williams, a member of Charlie Co., 1-144th Field Artillery Battalion, said working with people from different states and nations gives him a chance to see other people's points of views from different sides of the world. "I haven't had the chance to talk to a lot of Soldiers from other nations, but they seem pretty nice. I've talked to Soldiers from other states and they are good Soldiers."
Williams does peacekeeping patrols through various cities in Kosovo, and is currently visiting with locals about elections in Kosovo. He plans to work on his education and get a degree while deployed here in Kosovo.
1st Lt. Thomas C. Touw, a native of San Diego now living in Annapolis, Md., is a platoon leader for Charlie Co., 1-144th Field Artillery Battalion. Touw is looking forward to taking his Soldiers out on different missions.
"It's been very interesting to work with Soldiers from different states and nations. It's been neat to see different nations work together."
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan D. Green, a Soldier with the Headquarters & Headquarter's Co. of the 1-144th Field Artillery Battalion, likes seeing how different people live and work together.
"It's been a great experience to work with other states and nations," said Green.
Green's goals for this deployment include taking some online classes for his higher education. This is Green's third deployment. He deployed to Haiti in 1994 and also to Guantanamo Bay in 2005.
Pvt. 1st Class Jerald J. Taeza, a Soldier with Headquarters & Headquarter's Co. of the1-144th Field Artillery Battalion, said, "It's really cool to work with other nations. They are just like us and trying to get the same job done," said Taeza. "It is fun to work with Soldiers from other states. We learn how they do their own procedures."
Taeza has been in the California Army National Guard about two years and plans to work on getting more college credits while deployed.
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