For the next nine months, home for the men and women of US Army National Guard 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade will be Camp Bondsteel located in Eastern Kosovo. Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999, has
For the next nine months, home for the men and women of US Army National Guard 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade will be Camp Bondsteel located in Eastern Kosovo. Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999, has facilities to house, feed and entertain up to 7,000 soldiers serving in the 10 year-plus NATO KFOR mission. Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. 23/11/2009.
For the next nine months, home for the men and women of US Army National Guard 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade is the 4km2 (1.5 square miles) military base known as Camp Bondsteel (CBS). Located about an hour South of Pristina, Kosovo, CBS is the largest American military base in the Balkan peninsula and is the Headquarters for the Eastern command of the Multinational Task Force – East (MNTF-E) Kosovo Force (KFOR).
Camp Bondsteel not only hosts the 650 soldiers from the North Dakota Army National Guard, but also the 800+ soldiers from 14 states and the Virgin Islands that make up the rest of the 1,400 strong Task Force Falcon, the US portion of the MNTF-E. The camp also hosts soldiers from Armenia, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine, as well as small detachments and individuals from the other 32 countries that contribute to the 10-year-long NATO mission in Kosovo.
NATO forces entered Kosovo in 1999 under United Nations mandate 1244, which was established order to halt Serbian aggression towards ethnic Kosovar Albanians. NATO conducted an 11-week bombing campaign against Yugoslav Army and Serbian paramilitary units. NATO continues to operate under the UN mandate with the mission to create a safe and secure environment for all seven ethnic groups who call Kosovo their home.
The UN, and other European organizations, are actively working to build the capacity of Kosovo government institutions. In 2008 the Kosovo government declared independence from Serbia after years of failed negotiations. The first general elections for local and national positions were held without incident in November, 2009.
Camp Bondsteel, established in 1999, is named after Staff Sergeant James L. Bondsteel, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his “gallantry and intrepidity” while fighting in the An Loc Province of Vietnam in 1964. The camp was built by the 94th Engineer Construction Battalion with additional support of Kellogg, Brown and Root Corporation (KBR).
Soldiers at CBS are only permitted off base while performing mission related duties; otherwise life is restricted to the limits of the 11km (7 miles) long perimeter of the camp. Besides the necessary offices, security infrastructure and command and control facilities, the camp has 246 Southeast Asia huts (SEAhuts) along with 250 living containers that can house up to 7,000 soldiers and other personnel. The SEAhuts reasonably comfortable and soldiers can pay for in-room satellite TV and high-speed internet hook-ups. The camp has its own fire brigade, garbage trucks and waste processing facilities, all geared to make sure that the camp remains clean and is environmentally friendly as possible.
In addition, the camp has a PX shop selling everything from electronics to BBQ briquettes; a two-screen movie theatre showing the latest Hollywood releases; and three fully-equipped fitness centers with cardio-vascular workout machines, free weights and full-court gymnasiums where soldiers can play a variety of team sports, such as indoor soccer and basketball.
Two fully equipped cafeterias provide most of the food; however, the base also features one Burger King, one Taco Bell and one Anthony’s Pizza restaurant. The two Cool Beans cappuccino coffee bars offer a place for soldiers from various countries to mix with each other and swap stories. The coofee bar also offers free wifi so soldiers can also update their Facebook accounts and Skype with loved ones back home, while sipping their espresso or munching on some fast food.
Two Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities offer books, internet computers, telephones, cash machines, video game consoles, pool and foosball tables. The two non-denominational chapels serve the spiritual needs of the soldiers and the Laura Bush Educational center offers classes and continuing education opportunities.
Located in the Municipality of Uroševac/Ferizaj in Eastern Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel lies in the shadow of the 2,498 meter (8,195 feet) Mount Ljuboten, affectionately known as “Mt. Duke” by the Bondtseel residents.