By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hagburg, 116th Public Affairs DetachmentFebruary 25, 2010
CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Soldiers of Multi-National Group-East (MNBG-E) proved their abilities to operate as an agile, mobile and flexible force across Kosovo Feb. 23-24 during the final phase of KFOR's Full Operational Capable (FOC) exercises of its new Battle Groups.
The exercise began at approximately 6 p.m. Feb. 23 and wrapped up nearly 24 hours later, after an intense period in which MNBG-E Soldiers were forced to react to various simulated incidents in Kosovo.
The purpose of the exercise was to validate MNBG-E's ability to operate as a Battle Group. Commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, Bismarck, N.D., MNBG-E was designated a Battle Group, effective Feb. 1, as part of KFOR's transition into a deterrent presence posture in Kosovo.
MNBG-E was the last of the KFOR-s five current Battle Group's to undergo the FOC exercise.
"Our main goal is that we emphasize our mobility, agility and flexibility as Battle Groups," said German Army Lt. Gen. Markus Bentler, commander of KFOR. "We have changed from an omnipresent force that could be found in every corner in Kosovo to more of a reactionary force, going where we need to be in a very swift manner."
The MNBG-E Soldiers involved in the exercise included MNBG-E headquarters staff from the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 231st Maneuver Task Force; a Polish company; a Ukrainian company. Two units of the 1-144th Maneuver Task Force also were deployed to Camp Nothing Hill in northern Kosovo as a demonstration of the Battle Group's ability to react to incidents in that region in Kosovo.
"I would like to thank everyone in Multi-National Battle Group-East for their hard work in getting as much benefit as possible out of this exercise," said Dohrmann. "We've had a lot to do in the past month as we've transitioned from a task force to a Battle Group and our performance during this exercise shows that we are ready."
During the first evening of the FOC exercise, Soldiers in MNBG-E's command staff were confronted with a scenario involving simulated disturbances, fires, robberies and attacks taking place across the MNBG-E area of operations. They were required to come up with a plan to deal with the problems and to convey that plan directly to the companies through a detailed order.
Very early the next morning, the maneuver units rolled out of Camp Bondsteel to carry out their orders, while facing a wide variety of unexpected simulated incidents. The incidents tested the units' ability to react to different situations, to employ crowd-and-riot-control techniques, send out reserve forces when and where needed and to evacuate wounded Soldiers back to Camp Bondsteel.
Col. Robert Fode, deputy commander, maneuver, for MNBG-E, said the exercise was a valuable experience for the unit and its Soldiers.
"This was an exercise, but you know, we need to treat these exercises like they are real life," he said. "I think we learned a lot, truly, I know I did. We can use these experiences to make us even better. I think things went very well."
While MNBG-E has now been validated as a Battle Group, its mission has not changed: to provide a safe and secure environment in Kosovo as a third responder behind the Kosovo Police and the EULEX (European Rule of Law in Kosovo).
"It was a very valuable exercise. I would say we are in very good shape," Bentler said. "We have proven that we are doing a great job but we must continue to train for our mission."
Multi-National Battle Group - East is a U.S- led task force commanded by Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann. This Battle Group is comprised of nearly 2,200 Soldiers, including Task Force Hellas and Task Force POL/UKR (Polish/Ukraine). The charter mission of MNBG-E is maintaining a Safe and Secure Environment and providing Freedom of Movement for the people in Kosovo.
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