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An American M1A1 Abrams tank of the 1st Armored Division guards check point Sandra on IFOR route Mississippi on the zone of separation in February, 1996.
An American M1A1 Abrams tank of the 1st Armored Division guards check point Sandra on IFOR route Mississippi on the zone of separation in February, 1996. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
An American M1A1 Abrams tank of the 1st Armored Division guards check point Sandra on IFOR route Mississippi on the zone of separation in February, 1996.
An American M1A1 Abrams tank of the 1st Armored Division guards check point Sandra on IFOR route Mississippi on the zone of separation in February, 1996. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
President Bill Clinton shakes hands with 1st Armored Division soldiers following his speech in Baumholder, Germany, Dec. 2, 1995. Less than a month later, the 1st AD was crossing the Sava as part of IFOR.
President Bill Clinton shakes hands with 1st Armored Division soldiers following his speech in Baumholder, Germany, Dec. 2, 1995. Less than a month later, the 1st AD was crossing the Sava as part of IFOR. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

A timeline of events surrounding the U.S. participation in the Bosnian conflict:

June 1991

Slovenia and Croatia declare their independence from Yugoslavia. While Slovenia’s exit is almost peaceful, a bloody war rages in Croatia.

Meanwhile, there’s sporadic fighting between ethnic Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia. Each has a separate religion and historical claims to territory. However, populations have been somewhat mixed since the regime of maverick communist strongman Josip Broz Tito.

1992

Fighting intensifies in Bosnia. Thousands are killed. The Croats and Bosniaks, once allied, start fighting each other. By January, there’s a three-way war.

In much of Europe and the U.S., the Serbs are mostly seen as aggressors. American air power comes into play to stop the shelling of Sarajevo and pressure the better-armed Serbs to stop fighting.

July 1995

An estimated 8,000 Bosnian-Muslims, mostly men and teenage boys, are massacred in and around Srebrenica. This atrocity spurs the world to action to end the bloodshed.

November-December 1995

Under pressure from the U.S. and Europe, leaders from the ethnic factions are brought together. An agreement is reached in Dayton, Ohio, to stop the fighting.

Task Force Eagle, the American mission in Bosnia, is formed a few days later. The 1st Armored Division is ordered to Bosnia and takes over the U.S. part of the 60,000-strong Implementation Force.

Dec. 20, 1996

Not long after the 1st ID takes over the U.S. mission, IFOR ends. The Big Red One then takes over the U.S. role in the new Stabilization Force, or SFOR.

October 1998

The 1st Cavalry Division takes over command of a greatly reduced U.S. presence. About 7,000 American troops — about one-third of the original force — are now in Bosnia.

March 2000

The 49th Armored Division of the Texas National Guard takes over the mission. With the exception of the rotation led by the 3rd Infantry Division that followed, the remainder of the 15 SFOR rotations would be led by Army Reserve elements.

Nov. 24, 2004

Task Force Eagle is disestablished and most U.S. troops prepare to head home.

Dec. 2, 2004

SFOR will become EUFOR as the European Union takes control of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia from NATO.

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