One-thousand Missourians helping keep the peace halfway around the world are preparing for another holiday away from home. They’re the lead unit in the Multi-National Task Force, East, in Kosovo, helping keep the peace in a country that used to be part of Yugoslavia as it moves toward an independent democracy. The nation is recognized by 53 United Nations members but not by some of the countries near it.
The commander of this part of the Multinational Task Force is Brigadier General Larry Kay. Back here, he’s the Assistant Adjutant General. Kay says his forces have been able to keep in touch with the folks at home in ways soldiers have never had before, even getting up at 2 a.m. to watch Missouri Tiger football games–“tailgating with a combat helmet and a weapon,” he says. He says troops can use various web-based programs to see and talk to the people back home. In fact, he says he used a webcam to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner and give the prayer—from Kosovo.
He says it’s been a successful deployment, and the absence of violence is the best indication of its success. He says his soldiers are helping the people of Kosovo to transition to the next level as a free and secure society.
Kay says the soldiers also are also helping the people solve their problems, making the soldiers, in effect, international diplomats as well as security forces.
The Missourians will be coming home in March, replaced by a unit from California.