|10th Mountain Troops Move Into Kosovo |
10th Mountain Troops Move Into Kosovo
Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo -- (ANS) November 14, 2001 -- A transition of authority for Task Force Falcon is scheduled for Nov. 21 as 101st Airborne Division troops depart Kosovo after six months of peace-keeping and 10th Mountain Division soldiers move in to take over.
Brig. Gen. Keith M. Huber, the 10th Mountain's deputy division commander for operations, is scheduled to take command of both Task Force Falcon and Multi-National Brigade (East) at Camp Bondsteel.
Brig. Gen. William David has commanded Task Force Falcon since June after a brigade task force arrived in May consisting of about 5,000 soldiers from Fort Campbell and others from the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.
When David took command, he challenged his soldiers to, "leave Kosovo better than you found it. "
Sgt.1st Class Wood Saunders was awarded this week for helping accomplish that.
Saunders, NCOIC for the G-1 section, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., was recognized for his work with the Kosovo Protection Corps. Officials said Saunders saved the United Nations Mission in Kosovo over a million Deutsche Marks.
Saunders was presented multiple awards from both the U.S. Army and the KPC at the Regional Task Group 6 headquarters in Gnijlane, Kosovo.
Col. B.R. Fitzgerald, Task Force Falcon chief of staff, pinned on the Army Commendation Medal and the NATO Medal. His orders in part read: "Sergeant First Class Saunders' partnership personnel and finance initiative helped the UNMIK recover over 1.3 DMs in overpayments to non-KPC members this year." In addition, he was awarded the Kosovo Campaign Medal.
Saunders also received a commendation from his Kosovar counterparts, the TMK. Xhevat Leci, the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel in U.S. military rank, is the chief of the personnel department for the RTG 6th Zone. Leci presented Saunders with a certificate of commendation, photographs and RTG uniform insignia.
Before coming to the province of Kosovo in June, Saunders had spent the last four years as a member of the 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Ky. This is his seventh major deployment.
"As a result of the struggle these people went through they had no real operational management systems in place. We worked on writing regulations for the G-1 section to improve this," Saunders said. "They didn't have a lot of experience in staff operations, being such a new organization. I also had a lot of contact with their G-3 and G-5 sections because their organization is so different than ours. It just branched out to training the entire staff."
"Over the course of training (with the KPC staff) we discovered some individuals who were being paid who weren't members of the organization anymore. UNMIK overpaid 1.3 DM this year alone." Saunders said. "UNMIK has recovered the overpayments."
Saunders instituted an accountability method used to track the outgoing funds. "We wrote six different regulations for the Kosovo Protection Corps to follow," he said.
In the past, members were paid once a month in cash. Saunders was instrumental in starting a Sure Pay system for their members. Sure Pay electronically deposits funds into the individual's accounts and provides a way to track those payouts.
Kosovars refer to the KPC as the TMK, but the organization is the same.
"I've had the opportunity to work with some good people here from both U.S. KFOR and the TMK," said Saunders. "The people here have been through a lot and I wanted to do something to help them improve Kosovo. The work U.S. KFOR is doing with the TMK has a direct impact on the people of Kosovo and contributes to a safe and secure environment. I have a lot of respect for the TMK and the Kosovo people," he said.
Saunders will soon be leaving Kosovo for another duty assignment. Units from the 101st began leaving Kosovo last week. They will continue redeploying to Fort Campbell through the first week of December, officials said.