Reserve and National Guard troops have been stepping up to help their active-duty counterparts complete missions around the globe. Now, they’ve taken over.
For the first time, the two major American-led task forces in the Balkans are headed by reserve components of the U.S. Army.
The 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) out of Pennsylvania runs Task Force Falcon, the American sector in the Kosovo Force.
The Pennsylvania National Guard unit took over the command from the 1st Infantry Division out of Würzburg, Germany, on July 28 at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. The 35th Infantry Division, headquartered out of Kansas, runs Task Force Eagle, the American sector in Bosnia.
The Bosnia mission has seen its third consecutive rotation of reserve and National Guard units pass through and is about to get its fourth. The 34th Infantry Division out of Minnesota will take over command in October.
“The Balkan rotations have gotten to a point of stability where active-duty could pull out and concentrate more on other missions around the world, like in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Hillary Anne Luton, Multi-National Brigade (East) spokeswoman.
She said having the reserve and National Guard units take command has freed active-duty soldiers from the stress of another six-month-to-a-year rotation.
Luton also said the mission provides real-world training for part-timers, who may not always have the opportunity to perform their military duties.