New unit takes charge of Task Force Hellas in MNTF-E
Lt. Col. Dimitrios Bountouris, who commanded Task Force Hellas from June-December 2009, speaks at a transfer of authority ceremony held on Dec. 8 at Camp Rigas Feraios. He was joined, from left to right, by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, commanding general of Multi-National Task Force-East, Col. Georgios Chatzitheofanous, commander of Greek forces in Kosovo, and Lt. Col. Konstantinos Tsekmes, the new commander of Task Force Hellas.

CAMP RIGAS FERAIOS, Kosovo - Task Force Hellas, the Greece -led element of Multi-National Task Force-East, gained new leadership in a transfer-of-authority ceremony held here Tuesday evening.
At the ceremony, the Greek Army's 501st Mechanized Infantry Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Konstantinos Tsekmes, took over for the 525th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Dimitrios Bountouris. The 525th has served in Kosovo since June 15, 2009. The 501st is set to serve until June 2010.
Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, commander of Multi-National Task Force-East, praised the work of Bountouris and the 525th over the past six months.
"Multinational partners are key to the success of the KFOR mission," said Dohrmann. "The Soldiers of Task Force Hellas successfully ensured a safe and secure environment was maintained so the people of Kosovo can continue to build a secure and brighter future."
During its deployment, the 525th took part in numerous civil military projects including two medical civic action programs, one veterinary civic action program, three medicine donations, six school supply and clothing donation projects for children, four clothing donations to local non-governmental organizations, and 15 donations of food, clothing and shoes to villages of the Task Force Hellas area of responsibility. The 525th also trained with other MNTF-E units on aviation, explosives ordnance disposal, riot control and marksmanship tasks, as well as working with Liaison Monitoring Teams.
Bountouris, the outgoing commander of Task Force Hellas, credited his Greek and Armenian troops at the ceremony.
"During the time period that the battalion stayed in the area, we had excellent cooperation with all of the KFOR forces and the local authorities," he said. "I am glad to thank both Greek and Armenian personnel for the professionalism and dedication each and every one showed during the six months of this deployment to Kosovo. Our mission would not have been a success without such fine Soldiers."
Incoming commander, Tsekmes , vowed that the 501st would continue to contribute strongly to the work of MNTF-E.
"I want to assure you that during our stay in the area, time and effort will not be an issue when it comes to establishing peace and security in our area of responsibility," Tsekmes said. "Impartiality, respect for the humanity of the inhabitants of the region, and development of a secure feeling among the local population will be the cornerstone of my unit's mission and for the creation of a better future."
Dohrmann said the he was confident the 501st would excel in its mission and that he was looking forward to working with Tsekmes during the unit's six-month deployment.
"We are here in an interesting time when we face both challenges and opportunities as KFOR has moved into the deterrent presence phase of operations," Dohrmann said. "Working together with our partners from the international community and the institutions in Kosovo we will accomplish our mission and also turn our challenges into opportunities as we work together for a brighter future for the people of Kosovo."

Page last updated Thu December 10th, 2009 at 12:59