26 June 15 –
HOHENFELS, Germany – Forces from the U.S., Albania and Moldova conducted crowd and riot control (CRC) training June 25 during a Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission rehearsal exercise (MRE) at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) here. The KFOR MRE is based on the current operational environment and is designed to prepare the unit for peace, support, stability and contingency operations in Kosovo in support of civil authorities to maintain a safe and secure environment.
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, an Army National Guard Unit from North Carolina, participated in this capstone event designed to represent the cumulative training the command has done over the past few months rolled into one exercise in preparation for the upcoming mission. The ABCT will be heading to Kosovo to take part in the peacekeeping mission working mainly with the Kosovo police.
The mission in Kosovo for the ABCT will be to deter threats to a safe and secure environment and be prepared to restore those conditions should it be disrupted, said Col. Vernon Simpson, commander of the 30th ABCT. The scenario for the exercise is a representation of what could potentially happen should a peaceful protest get out of control, he said.
With a start to the day that came long before the sun, and lasting well into the afternoon, 1st Battalion, 252nd Armor Regiment’s Alpha Company, along with Albanian and Moldovan soldiers intervened to restore order after a peaceful protest escalated into rioting.
The mission for this exercise was to push rioters away from a targeted building that had local government officials inside, said 1st Lt. Matthew Lester, a platoon leader with 1/252nd AR’s Alpha Co. This training helps prepare us greatly for Kosovo because our counterparts that we are replacing have advised that there is always the possibility peaceful protest could get out of control.
Units participating in the KFOR mission are trained in CRC at the JMRC so that they get a good understanding of assisting the local police within the peacekeeping missions under NATO’s guidance.
“The unique aspect of this training here at JMRC is that we got to train alongside our State Partnership country of Moldova,” said Simpson. Although they will not be joining us in Kosovo, we each valued the day-to-day interaction our commanders and soldiers had with each other during the training.
The National Guard has forged enduring partnerships through the State Partnership Program for more than 20 years to enhance combatant commanders’ ability to build enduring relationships that improve long-term international security and strengthen shared defenses.
North Carolina is happy to be a part of that program and proud to have the Moldovan military as our partner, he said. We look forward to more opportunities to train for missions of peace and stability as well as build on the relationship to enhance global security.