By Staff Sgt. Cody HardingJune 23, 2013
LEPOSAVIC, Kosovo - As Kosovo Force 17 soldiers continue to settle into their new posts they have identified a number of opportunities to improve their living conditions and quality of life. At Gate One, a KFOR camp near the Administrative Boundary Line in northern Kosovo, these opportunities are already beginning to take shape on the ground.
One of these changes is modifying the overall structure of the camp in order to improve the quality of life for soldiers near the ABL.
According to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Harris, the 'Mayor' of Gate One, this is being accomplished is by adding in fresh gravel for the roads to keep equipment and soldiers from losing their footing in the mud. Harris says that laying the gravel will also help curb any issues with pests and sickness on the post that may arise from having muddy trails and stagnant pools after it rains.
In his duties as mayor, Harris is in charge of the maintenance and improvements of the post. For this, he has enlisted the help of KFOR's multinational partners. Ukrainian Coy engineers began dropping off over 1,000 cubic feet of fresh gravel June 18, which over the course of two weeks, will become the new roads and pathways leading up and into the post.
"That's one of the perks to doing this job, I get to work with a lot of different [multinational] coys," Harris, a Fort Bragg, N.C. native, said. "I've worked with the Turkish so far, and I've met the Polish, the Ukrainians, Armenians, Albanians, Slovenians, Germans, French and the Moroccans. It's hard to learn 'Hello' and 'Thank you' in all of those languages."
Harris is also planning for the addition of new tents to better accommodate the soldiers stationed there. Though change doesn't happen overnight, Harris is wasting no time in laying the foundation for improvement.
Gate One is also seeing an improvement in soldier care. Thanks in part to the Forward Command Post stationed at Camp Novo Selo. Gate One recently received several boxes of supplies for their Morale, Welfare and Recreation tent to help improve the variety of activities soldiers can take part in during their time off.
U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Robert Allen, the incoming 1st Sgt. for Company C, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, said that getting the supplies was a huge morale boost for his soldiers.
"Where we're at, we just have stuff that gets us by," Allen, a native of Columbus, Ga. said. "Showing up with good stuff is always a morale booster for the guys."
To help soldiers maintain a high level of readiness, the soldiers of Gate One have also expanded their training facilities, building a rappel training tower on the camp to provide safe, easily accessible training to multinational forces stationed on the post.
"The guys are enjoying it, they love the mission that we're doing in Kosovo," Allen said. "Hard training, hard working, and we all appreciate what MWR is doing for us, no matter how big or small."