CAMP NOVO SELLO, Kosovo — Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment of South Carolina’s 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade have arrived in Kosovo.
The soldiers for the new Kosovo rotation are training with their predecessors to learn the mission and the objectives as they prepare to support the people of Kosovo. The KFOR 16 soldiers stand ready to replace Georgia National Guard’s 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry at the forward command post change of command ceremony held Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Spc. Nyshom C. Lanham, an all source intelligence analyst for the 118th said that the change of command ceremony will set the tone for the rest of the deployment.
“It lets us know what environment we fell into, what their achievements were and it welcomes us to the area,” he said. “It lets us get used to the multinationals, and lets everyone know that we are now here to take over the mission.”
Sgt. 1st Class Michael A. Windes, is an armor crewman for the 118th. He said that he is proud to be here and ready to help support the people of Kosovo.
“I think we bring a lot of experience, a lot of ambition and we will be able to see the mission through,” said Windes. “The people of Kosovo are looking for help with maintaining their freedom of movement. They want to be able to move without fear of retribution, and we want to ensure that they are able to do that.”
Lanham, a native of Rock Hill, said this is not a new mission, but the 118th will continue to build upon the work of their predecessors.
“The primary goal of KFOR 16 is ensuring freedom of movement and a safe and secure environment for all the citizens of Kosovo, regardless of whether they are Serbian or Albanian,” said Lanham. “We don’t want to infringe upon anyone’s rights or affiliations.
These soldiers have trained very hard to get here today, and are confident of the abilities of their peers, their leaders, and themselves, said Lanham.
“I am proud,” said Lanham. “Proud of the confidence and ambition we Soldiers have, and proud of the knowledge that our leaders have. I know that if I have any questions, any doubts, or anything that I don’t know, I can always go to them, trust my leadership and they will fill me in. They trust me as well. So I feel very well prepared for this mission.”
Prior to the official ceremony, the two rotations worked closely together to ensure a smooth transfer. Windes, a native of Aynor, said that that the level of camaraderie between the two rotations is beneficial to his team.
“The 3rd of the 108th sat with us and gave us the ins and outs for the job we are about to do,” he said. “They have helped us figure out the system so we that we will have a successful mission. They have been really great to work with.”
After nearly two months of pre mobilization training, soldiers from the 118th are ready for the mission before them. With the un-casing of the guideon, all the preparation is finally ready to be put to the test.