Isle infantry
division ends
mission in Bosnia

Pennsylvania Army Guard takes
the next six-month rotation

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Hawaii's Tropic Lightning Division, ending its first European mission, has passed the colors and peacekeeping duties in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr., commander of the 25th Infantry Division's Task Force Eagle, passed the flag and responsibility for the northern sector of the Stabilization Force to Brig. Gen. John von Trott of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard's 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) on Monday.

"Only time will tell the true measure of our success; that is, what Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes in the years ahead," said Swannack, who will now become commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. "The people of this country now have a chance at peace and prosperity that they would not have had without SFOR."

Yesterday, Army Secretary Thomas White visited the Pennsylvania soldiers of Stabilization Force 12. In meetings with enlisted soldiers, White told them they will be "on point" for America during the six-month rotation.

White also emphasized the importance of the nation's reserve soldiers in America's continuing war on terrorism. This is because Stabilization Force 12 is the first rotation in seven years that is a nearly made up of National Guard and Army Reserve citizen-soldiers. The 28th Infantry Division is the third National Guard unit to assume command of Multinational Division (North), following the 49th Armored Division and the 29th Infantry Division.

In his parting remarks, Swannack listed what he considered significant contributions made by the 25th Division over the past six months to provide a secure environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina:

>> More than 2,400 displaced families were able to return to their pre-war homes, signifying an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous year.

>> An additional 360,000 square yards of land were cleared of mines, doubling last year's total.

>> The Bosnia-Herzegovina armed forces were able to make progress in reducing weapons storage sites to 32 from 49 and improve safety in the remaining sites.

>> Operation Active Harvest, a periodic weapons collection program, was able to recover enough weapons to arm an entire division. Between March and August, the program collected 849 rifles, 182 machine guns, 41 handguns, 187 rocket launchers, nearly 389,000 rounds of ammunition, 473 land mines, nearly 7,470 grenades, and 100,606 grams of TNT.

All of the more than 1,000 25th Division soldiers are expected to be back at Schofield Barracks by early next month.

The only major incident during the six-month deployment occurred in June when an OH-58D Kiowa helicopter on a routine low-level training mission crashed near the village of Vozuca in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina. Neither of the two pilots was seriously injured.

Tropic Lightning Division

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