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.
Give it a rest, FormerLib. You guys have been breathlessly reporting the imminent Kosovar-Albanian attack of NATO & the US for over 6 years. Instead, we've never been attacked and have been steadily drawing down troops in the Balkans to go to places where there really is an Islamic threat--Afghanistan & Iraq--where our Albanian & Macedonian & Bosnian & Croatian allies have troops fighting alongside us. No Serbs invited, however, as the US plans don't include ethnic cleansing, rape, and mass murder.
WTF are we still in the Balkans.
When it happens, the fact that real American soldiers will be paying the price will be the only thing keeping me from laughing "Told ya so" right in your face, marky-boy.
Because we never should have been there in the first place.
I'll do ya one better, why where we there to begin with?
Never got it myself.
Oh well, theres lots I dont get ;) Im off for rest now.
My thoughts exactly. Kosovo is Bill Clinton's baby so obviously its a good kinda military deployment.
Regardless, God bless those troops.
I didn't know we were still there in the first place.
Note to moderator, I take great offense to mark502inf's asinine remark.
Mark, you really are a disingenuous ass, I hope you're one of the first casualties in a KLA attack, I really do.
monty, the Serbs committed ethnic cleansing, rape, and mass murder in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia. That is a fact whether you take offense to it or not. Read up a little:
Sort of losing it there, aren't you sport.
Anyways, the KLA has had lots of chances to turn me and tens of thousands of other Americans into "casualties" over the last 7 years and they haven't done so yet.
In honor of how well you handled this post, here's another:
Thursday, May 12, 2005 U.S. says Serbs still in denial over war crimes
By Beti Bilandzic
BELGRADE, May 12 (Reuters) - Most Serbs still do not believe their forces committed atrocities in Croatia, Bosnia or Kosovo, a senior United States diplomat said on Thursday, so the idea of holding war crimes trials in the country is problematic.
Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia are all trying to show their capacity to deal with the past after the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, insisting they are ready and able to dispense justice for war crimes cases at home.
U.S. charge d'affaires Roderick Moore, speaking at a seminar in Belgrade, said Serbs widely failed to recognise that their countrymen had committed war crimes, making it difficult for the judiciary to prosecute and convict perpetrators.
"I don't believe the political climate in Serbia is wholly favourable for trying war crimes impartially in domestic courts," said Moore, speaking in Serbian.
"I don't believe that your society has accepted the full extent of the crimes Serbs committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo," he added.
The seminar was part of a debate on whether countries involved in the wars sparked by the breakup of Yugoslavia were ready to take over some of the heavy caseload of the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Moore said less than half of Serbia's population believed that 7,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred in Srebrenica in 1995 by the forces of Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, despite the testimony of witnesses, graves found and even the admission of Bosnian Serbs.
"Only 37 percent believe it is a war crime and only 38 percent believe Mladic should go to The Hague to answer for the crime," the envoy said.
Polls show the level of denial is similar for other atrocities, such as the killing of some 200 prisoners of war in Vukovar in Croatia in 1991, or for the 800 Kosovo Albanian bodies buried in Serbia during the 1999 war and found later. "Your society doubts the crimes happened at all," he said
Didn't know that. Last I heard of them, the 143rd Infantry was crossing the Rapido River in 1943. Or trying to.
MG Fred Walker wrote in his journal on 23 January 1944:
The Battle for the Rapido is over. It will long remain in my memory. Two of my regiments were wrecked there. Thank God, Keyes finally changed his mind and cancelled the third attack.
What an understatement, especially considering how hard he argued against making the attacks. He knew what slaughter was going to be done, and so too did the men who attempted the crossing.
The 36th didn't blame Keyes nor did they blame Walker. The blamed Mark Clark and they did not forget. Following the war the first thing they did was force Congressional hearings into Clark's wanton disregard for the lives of the men who attempted the crossing. Clark got a pass from the hearing, but at the words "Mark Clark," 36th veterans are likely to spit and curse, or say nothing and shake their heads.
I was in Normandy in June 2004 for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. In our tour group was a veteran of the 36th division, whose grandson warned us not to get him started on the subject of Mark Clark.
He did, however, mention that the second attack on the Rapido was akin to Grant's second assault on the Cold Harbor defenses. It was that costly. And like Cold Harbor, it failed.
I don't know how anyone in the 36th division survived that campaign. And those who did deserve a special medal cast in solid gold.
They're there incognito. I've heard that some of the former Red Berets units (the JSO) and the Gendarmes are in Iraq working with the US forces over there, but haven't found any official information on it.