Archive for Friday, April 6, 2007

Guard unit heading back to Kosovo

April 6, 2007

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— A Kansas National Guard unit is making its second deployment to Kosovo in the past four years, taking another turn at keeping the peace in the Balkans region.

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting said Thursday that about 200 soldiers of the headquarters unit of the 35th Division, based at Fort Leavenworth, will deploy later this year to become the headquarters unit for a multinational peacekeeping force. Soldiers will leave for Camp Atterbury, Ind., in July and for Kosovo in the fall.

The division has soldiers from Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. It is the third significant recent deployment for the division, including the first trip to Kosovo in 2003, Bunting said.

"Domestically, they served as the headquarters down in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, where they managed more than 15,000 soldiers and airmen from a number of National Guard units," Bunting said.

During their upcoming year in Kosovo, the division's soldiers will become part of Balkans Nine, a task force of approximately 1,500 soldiers from the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard.

Other Kansas units will continue to train and head to Iraq in the coming months.

The 35th Military Police Company's 170 soldiers were alerted they would be deployed, leaving in the next few months for training at Fort Dix, then to Iraq.

Two other units also have been placed on alert, though details and unit names haven't been released.

About 850 Kansas National Guard soldiers are serving in Iraq, but none in Kosovo. The Guard has about 5,600 soldiers and 2,100 airmen, for a total strength of 7,700.

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