CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Task Force Medical 16 transferred authority to Task Force Medical 17 at a ceremony held at Camp Bondsteel May 25.

U.S. Army Col. Noreen K. Diedo, a native of Warren, Mich., was the outgoing commander for TF MED 16, a unit comprised of more than 50 U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers from 11 different states.

Diedo acknowledged a number of challenges her soldiers faced throughout their rotation in Kosovo.

"During our nine months of boots on ground, our Task Force reduced the effects of continued right-sizing of Camp Bondsteel, governmental sequestration, and the elimination of key provider positions," said Diedo.

Despite these challenges, Diedo said she was very proud of what her team was able to accomplish during their deployment. Those accomplishments included accommodating more than 2,100 patient encounters, 16 surgeries, one of which was classified as a major surgery, volunteering more than 700 service hours and re-certifying 60 dining facility personnel on safe food handling practices.

"None of these accomplishments would have been possible without your tremendous efforts, your dedication to duty, your desire to work within the institutions of Kosovo and your enthusiasm for taking care of soldiers," Diedo said. "I couldn't be more honored or proud to have had you on my team."

Diedo wished everyone on the KFOR 16 team a safe trip home and wished the incoming TF MED commander, U.S. Army Maj. Marc R. Welde, a native of Ogden, Utah, the best of luck.

"I firmly believe that you and your team possess the necessary skills, experience and talent to take this organization to the next level," Diedo said. "I've learned quite a bit from you in the short period of time we've worked together and I'm more than confident you'll be successful with your tour here in Kosovo."

Welde congratulated KFOR 16 on their successful mission and for their hard work.

"Task Force Med 16 team, Col. Diedo, thank you for your hospitality and for passing along your wisdom, lessons learned and mission," Welde said. "You have provided us with the tools required to be successful. We will continue the legacy of providing world class health services to the battle group. I assure you the mission is in good hands."

Welde stood up his task force just two months ago from more than 10 units across Europe and the United States. He said though initially it seemed like a daunting task, he has seen how his team has come together and is confident they will be able to accomplish their mission.

"Although we aren't out pounding the ground each day ensuring freedom of movement and a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, being here, postured and ready to preserve life gives (troops) the confidence to do what they do," said Welde. "We are an instrumental part of this battle group and our actions directly affect mission success. I am proud of your determination and dedication to the mission and I can't wait to see you in action during this tour."