Skip to comments.36th Infantry Division deploys to Balkans
Posted on 11/28/2005 3:40:03 PM PST by SandRat
WACO, Texas (Army News Service, Nov. 28, 2005) A day after Thanksgiving, more than 1,500 Soldiers bound for a 14-month deployment to Kosovo and Bosnia were honored in a ceremony Nov. 25 at Baylor Universitys Ferrell Center.
A circular sea of green seats was filled by excited and emotional family members and friends at Baylors indoor arena in Waco, Texas. They were there to say goodbye to their Soldiers one last time before they departed for the Balkans.
It was the first time 36th Infantry Division Soldiers were deploying to Europe since World War II.
During the ceremony, guest speaker Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) told the crowd she felt bonded to the Texas National Guard
I am so proud to be here today, Hutchison said. I know that Task Force Falcon will be a great success.
Boots on ground spread freedom
Hutchison said she made a trip to Bosnia five years ago to visit other Texas National Guard troops.
Your mission is so important, Hutchison told the 36th ID Soldiers. You will be showing the people in Bosnia, the people of Kosovo (and) the people of the world, what American Soldiers are. Many people from other countries hear about the work that American troops do around the world. But, you will be showing what America is.
Keeping the peace in Kosovo is important, she said.
We will never be able to fight and win the hearts and minds of the people of the world unless we have boots on the ground and that is why our Army and our Guard is so important, Hutchison said. There is only one way to secure the peace. You do it with boots on the ground. You spread freedom with boots on the ground.
Training at Hood began in July
The Soldiers have been training at North Fort Hood, Texas since July 11 to take part in NATOs peace-keeping operations in Eastern Europe.
Hutchison thanked the Soldiers for their sacrifice as they will be leaving their families for more than a year.
You are so important to our country, Hutchison said. By spreading freedom to others, you are making our freedom more secure. Thank you for being willing to serve our country. We can do no less than stand for freedom. You are the face of America. We thank you.
Maj. Gen. Michael Taylor, commanding general, 36th Inf. Div., also spoke to the troops.
After the singing of the Army song and the colors were retired, the Soldiers spilled out onto the grassy hills that surrounded the venue. There they said their final goodbyes to friends, families and loved ones.
Its a good chance for the family to see their Soldier off, Sgt. Darren Warren, Task Force Dragoon, 36th Inf. Div., said before the ceremony.
My family has been very supportive, Warren said. Theyre glad Im going there instead of other hotspots.
Final goodbyes bring tears
As the white Bluebird buses stood at the ready to whisk the Soldiers away, there were many final hugs and tears.
There were dads, wives, sons, daughters, friends and relatives.
They all seemed to not want to let go.
Its hard, Lauren Saldanas, 12, said about watching her father, Sgt. Hector Saldana, TF Alamo, leave for deployment.
Saldanas pregnant wife and Laurens mother Debbie Saldanas choked back tears as she echoed her daughters sentiments.
She said, Its hard for him and for us. Were very proud of him. (Ill) miss his help at home (the most). Hes a wonderful dad.
Saladanas baby is due Jan. 26.
Soldiers from 14 states in TF Falcon
Soldiers of the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division are being joined in the deployment by troops joined by Soldiers from Puerto Rico and the states of Arkansas, Alabama, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The majority of the Soldiers have been training together as Task Force Falcon. Once in Kosovo, TF Falcon will be joined by a battalion of Greek Soldiers and a battalion of Polish, Ukrainian and Lithuanian Soldiers. This combined force will be known as Multi-National Brigade(East). MNB(E) will be commanded by Brig. Gen. Darren Owens of the 36th Infantry Division, Texas National Guard.
The other part of the Balkans mission includes 150 Soldiers bound for Bosnia. Once in Bosnia, they will work with Soldiers from other nations to maintain the peace.
(Editors note: Sgt. Matthew Chlosta serves with the 4th Public Affairs Detachment.)
Texas Guard deploys for 14 months to Bosnia.
Wheres the cry for a withdrawal plan?
Its not making the front page but the situation in the balkans is degrading
"Wheres the cry for a withdrawal plan?"
Yeah, if Clinton had an exit plan, I must have missed it.
its a qaugmire I tells ya! ;)
I hear that Serb special forces have deployed to Iraq, and are working with us now.
Thank God GWB seems to know who the enemy is
Why are we still in the Balkans after ten years?
If this is a European problem, why don't the Europeans
deal with it?
Does France care? Does Germany? Don't they have
1500 extra troops who aren't doing anything at the moment?
The USA has a lot of commitments, and we are the doormat of the world.
It's time somebody told the "allies" that we can't do everything, they'll just have to take on some of these jobs themselves.
(And thanks for the 30,000 troops from each of you, for Iraq--NOT!)
I wish I could tell you why we are still there.
I wish I could tell you what security Bill Clinton secured for us.
Talk about a sensless war.
Lets go fight the folks that are supressing the muslim hordes reaquisition of the west.
Lets foster alqueda in europe. /Sarc
Wrong. There are some Serbs contracting with Bosnian security firms, but as far as being partners in the war on terror, the Serbs are still in the doghouse until they hand over Mladic and Karadzic.
So, yeah, GWB does know who the enemy is.
Thanks for the enlightenment.
News of the Balkans is hard to find and we all know that its history is convoluted
But don't take it from Hoplite, his spin on Balkan affairs only makes matters more confusing, especially for him.
Are you drawing me into a dispute that Im unprepared to fight? L0L
Seriously I dont understand what we accomplished in the Balkans.
I dont understand why the UN watches Bosnians burn christian churches without ire
What the fudge are we doing ther beside appeasing Bosnian Muslims who are at the gate?
As far as Hopelite is concerned, he hasn't maintained his tinfoil hat in years.
I saw the pics of the bluehated devils, quite content, placid, as the Masses destroyed 600 year old churches.
Im no expert on the balkans but this got my attention
Serbs are being targeted while paying respects at graveyards now too.
A friend of the family is going on this one--not an especially difficult mission compared to Iraq & Afghanistan, but the units were mobilized & have been training since July. The great majority of these soldiers are going to Kosovo--we only have a couple hundred total left in Bosnia.
In Kosovo, we're down to about 1700 soldiers and in Bosnia to about 200; plus the EU has taken over the Bosnia mission. At one point we had 30,000 troops in the Balkans. In Kosovo, they're starting final status negotiations, so we'll probably stay with what we have until that is completed and then draw down further. The Kosovar Albanians like & respect America & the Serbs won't mess with the USA, so we'll probably keep at least a small contingent there for several more years as a deterrent.
We will soon be reminded as to who our really enemies are since 9/11 proved insufficient for the Soros-fluffing brigade.
Last time they made the trip they deployed as elements of the 49th Armored Division, prior to retiring the colors and unfurling the historic colors of the 36th.
The Division's 56th Brigade should be returning from Iraq just about anytime now. Other elements of the 36th are serving in Afghanistan.
Bless em all.
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