U.S. Congressman Earl Pomeroy visits N.D. troops in Kosovo
February 23, 2010
- Pomeroy stopped at Camp Bondsteel to show his support and thanks for the work and the sacrifices made by all U.S. Soldiers in the Balkans
- The bulk of the North Dakota Soldiers arrived in Kosovo in late October as part of a deployment with KFOR-12
- Pomeroy began the Sunday visit by meeting with Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Bismarck, N.D.
- I'm so proud of North Dakota and the leaders of the North Dakota National Guard family, and by leaders, I mean every Soldier
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - U.S. Congressman Earl Pomeroy paid a visit Sunday to KFOR Soldiers from his home state of North Dakota stationed here on a yearlong NATO peacekeeping mission.
The one-day visit to Camp Bondsteel was part of a week-long stay by Pomeroy in the Balkans, an area of particular interest to the congressman. Pomeroy stopped at Camp Bondsteel to show his support and thanks for the work and the sacrifices made by all U.S. Soldiers in the Balkans region and around the world.
"It was an honor to meet with our North Dakota National Guard troops in Kosovo and see the valuable work they're doing to promote safety and security in the region," Congressman Pomeroy said. "These soldiers left their homes and families to travel to the other side of the world to serve their country. Their hard work and dedication is appreciated by North Dakota and by all Americans."
The bulk of the North Dakota Soldiers arrived in Kosovo in late October as part of a deployment with KFOR-12 (Kosovo Forces). North Dakota also has Soldiers in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Heidelberg, Germany.
Pomeroy began the Sunday visit by meeting with Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Bismarck, N.D., commander of the Fargo-based 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and the U.S.-led Multi-National Battle Group-East (MNBG-E) at Camp Bondsteel.
From there, the congressman was treated to a command-level briefing about the current situation in Kosovo, given by MNBG-E senior staff members. In return, Pomeroy provided MNBG-E staff information about his trip and his impressions of the general situation in the Balkans.
Pomeroy also visited with the commanders and Soldiers of the 231st Maneuver Task Force (MTF), based in Valley City, N.D.; and the Regional Liaison and Monitoring Team (LMT), comprised mostly of Soldiers of the 957th Multi-role Bridge Company, Bismarck.
MNBG-E is made up of National Guard and Army Reserve units from 13 states and the Virgin Islands. In all, nearly 40 states have Soldiers represented in the task force. When combined with Soldiers from five other nations - Greece (Task Force Hellas) Poland, Ukraine (Task Force Pol/Ukr), Armenia and Romania - NATO's MNTF-E is a 2,200-member force.
MNBG-E is one of five major sectors in Kosovo, where NATO military forces conduct peacekeeping patrols and interact with people.
During Pomeroy's visit to the Balkans, he also made stops in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pristina, Kosovo, Skopje in the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and Belgrade, Serbia. He made the tour as leader of a Congressional delegation that was sponsored by the House Democracy Partnership, a commission designed to partner with parliaments.
The House Democracy Partnership sponsors direct discussions between partner legislatures with a goal of increased understanding among legislators and lawmakers through sharing of knowledge, Pomeroy said.
"In 1973, I was an exchange student living in Yugoslavia," Pomeroy said. "I had the most wonderful experience that summer. I learned that the people of the Balkans are warm, interesting, wonderful people. Agriculture is a substantial part of their economy so I was also able to relate in that way. The place is full of intrigue and is endlessly interesting.
"I'm so proud of North Dakota and the leaders of the North Dakota National Guard family, and by leaders, I mean every Soldier, playing the role they're playing to lead this country to a different future."
While at Camp Bondsteel, Pomeroy also got a chance to sit down for lunch with about a dozen Soldiers from the various North Dakota units, before departing the base for a driving tour of the MNBG-E area of responsibility in southeastern Kosovo. The congressman also took part in walking tours with North Dakota Soldiers on patrol in the cities of Ferizaj/Urosevac and Brezovica.
"I know that Congressman Pomeroy would not have wanted to miss this kind of opportunity to visit with North Dakota Soldiers in a part of the world where he has such a passionate interest," said MNBG-E commander Dohrmann, "It truly means a lot to the Soldiers on the ground here in Kosovo whenever leaders, such as Congressman Pomeroy, come here to show their support and appreciation for the exceptional effort they put out every day."