Ukraine Contingent holds Transfer of Authority

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Maj. Oleksander Lutsenko, incoming commander of Ukraine Coy, Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E), addresses his troops and the assembled guests as Col. Francisco J. Neuman, commander of MNBG E, Lt. Col. Viacheslav Andrusko, outgoing commander, Ukraine Coy, and other distinguished guests listen during a Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Aug. 14. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Dodds, 130th Public Affairs Detachment)

Maj. Oleksander Lutsenko, incoming commander of Ukraine Coy, Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E), signs the transfer of authority order as Ukraine Maj. Gen. Sergiy Popko, commander, 7th Detached Mechanized Brigade, and Lt. Col. Viacheslav Andrusko, outgoing commander, Ukraine Coy, look on during a Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Aug. 14. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Dodds, 130th Public Affairs Detachment)

Maj. Oleksander Lutsenko, incoming commander of Ukraine Coy, Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E), and Lt. Col. Viacheslav Andrusko, outgoing commander, Ukraine Coy, salute Ukraine Maj. Gen. Sergiy Popko, 7th Detached Mechanized Brigade, to complete the Transfer of Authority ceremony at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, Aug. 14. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joshua Dodds, 130th Public Affairs Detachment)

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - The Ukrainian contingent of Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG E) Kosovo Force 13 (KFOR) held a Transfer of Authority ceremony, Aug. 14, at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

Guests and distinguished visitors from KFOR and other organizations gathered for the ceremony that marked the end of one and the beginning of the next Ukrainian rotation for KFOR, the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

The outgoing soldiers were commanded by Ukraine army Lt. Col. Viacheslav Andrusko, and were recognized for their outstanding effort in support of MNBG E as third responders behind the Kosovo Police (KP) and European Rule of Law mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

Ukraine recently took over this assignment as part of the KFOR deterrent presence mission in Kosovo. KFOR is tasked with maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all the people in Kosovo.

The outgoing soldiers witnessed many changes within the Battle Group as it became more agile and adaptable to the new mission focus. 

They began their rotation with the closing of Camp Breza, their former headquarters, in the Strpce/Shtrpc municipality and a hand over of responsibility of patrolling that area to U.S. Soldiers.

Following the closing of Breza, the Ukraine contingent moved its equipment and personnel to Camp Bondsteel, near Ferizaj/Urosezec. The incoming Ukraine contingent, commanded by Ukraine army Maj. Oleksander Lutsenko, will build upon the effort put forth by the previous Ukraine rotations.

"On behalf of my personnel, I want to express my will to continue the successes of the previous Ukrainian peacekeepers," Lutsenko said.  

Col. Francisco J. Neuman, Ponce, Puerto Rico, commander of MNBG E and a member of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, was first to the lectern to praise the outgoing soldiers and welcome the new members of MNBG E.

"Ukrainian forces have some of the most demanding tasks in the Battle Group; Security Patrols and Quick Reaction Force missions," Col. Neuman said. "We had the pleasure of working with Major Oleksandr Lutsenko and his soldiers while we were at Hohenfels, Germany, training for our mission here in Kosovo, and I look forward to building on the relationship we began in Germany."

Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Sergiy Popko, commander of the 7th Detached Mechanized Brigade, gave his speech in Ukrainian, and in a sign of respect and in the spirit of cooperation, Lt. Col. Dovriusz Kosowski, Polish contingent commander, also gave his speech in Ukrainian. Andrusko used his time at the lectern to express his wishes to his soldiers as they assume the mission with KFOR.

"I would like to express to the new soldiers to carry on our traditions and to act in a way as to bring honor to our country," said Andrusko. 

Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Lt. Col. Jose Boria-Cruz, Juncos, Puerto Rico, deputy commander of MNBG E, Greek army Col. Chatzithoefanour Georgirn, commander of Hellas Coy, MNBG E, and Turkish army Capt. Hakan Ozkybat, Turkish Coy commander.

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VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

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Capt. Barbara Bujak, physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, speaks in her native tongue, Polish, with members of Multinational Battle Group East's Polish Contingent and European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Bujak, who was born in Poland, moved to the U.S. at age 11 and joined the U.S. Army five years ago. Bujak's temporary assignment at Camp Bondsteel allowed her to experience a familiar ceremony in a new location.

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