The First Team in Bosnia
“Peacekeeping in the Balkans”
On 7 October 1998, The 1st Cavalry Division, under the leadership of MG Kevin P. Byrnes and CSM Paul Inman, assumed authority of the Multinational Division (North) area of operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina from the 1st Armored Division. The 1st Cavalry Division was the first CONUS (Continental United States) based division to assume this mission.
The Dayton Accords
The 1st Cavalry Division’s mission was to conduct operations to enforce the military provisions set forth by the Dayton Accords. The First Team soldiers served as our nation’s ambassadors. Their day-to-day presence and commitment to the citizens of this ravaged nation helped prove that a lasting and self-sustaining peace is possible.
In order to conduct successful peace missions while in theater, soldiers were extensively trained on mine awareness, country and cultural customs and checkpoint and convoy operations at Fort Hood. Training was conducted on all levels including individual readiness training, leader/staff training, Operation Joint Forge Training and concluded with the Mission Rehearsal Exercise conducted at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
1st Cavalry Division Troopers were placed in positions of responsibilitiy never before experienced. These responsibilities ranged from monitoring former warring factions to assisting in the return of displaced persons and refugees.
The preparation for the deployment included preparing family members for the long separation. The 1st Cavalry Division’s family and soldiers’ readiness program set a new Army standard. The First Team set the conditions to build self-sufficiency in our families.
The division expertly executed the SFOR 4 and 5 missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and set new standards for follow on units.
The SFOR 4
The SFOR 4 was comprised of soldiers from 1st Brigade Headquarters, 2-5th Cavalry, 1-8th Cavalry, 2-8th Cavalry, 1-82nd Field Artillery, 20th Engineer Battalion, A Battery 4-5th Air Defense Artillery, 1st Platoon 545th MP Company, 4th (Aviation) Brigade Headquarters and 2-227th Aviation Battalion, the Engineer Brigade Headquarters, 13th Signal Battalion, 312th Military Intelligence Battalion, III Corps units to include elements from 13th COSCOM, 410th MP Company, 205th MI Battalion, 15th Personnel Services Battalion and 15th Finance Battalion. In six months, they conducted more than 11, 000 day inspections and conducted combined missions with the Russians.
SFOR 5 comprised of soldiers from HHC 2nd Brigade, 1-5th Cavalry, 1-12th Cavalry, 2-12th Cavalry, 3-82nd Field Artillery, 91st Engineer Battalion, C Battery 4-5th Air Defense Artillery, 2nd Platoon, 545th MP Company, 15th Forward Support Battalion, and 1-7th Cavalry. They conducted daily mounted presence patrols in their HMMWVS and occasionally, in armored vehicles, among the Bosnian, Serb and Croat populace.
During the six months, squads and platoons conducted over 9,000 combat patrols and escorted over 1000 convoy movements over some of the most rugged terrain and austere conditions. The soldiers conducted hundreds of weapons storage site inspections, established vehicle checkpoints designed to monitor and control movement and often conducted searches for and seizures of illegal contraband and weapons. The pilots, crew chiefs and mechanics set a new Army benchmark for safety and the number of hours flown–over 17,000 flying hours. The Engineers monitored the de-mining of more than 80,000 square meters of contested land and supervised the construction of 41 million dollars worth of base camp improvements.
The 1st Cavalry Division turned over responsibility for Multinational Division – North on 4 August 1999 to the 10th Mountain Division based out of Fort Drum, New York and the 2nd Brigade turned over their sector of Bosnia to the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division on 1 October 1999 ending the First Team’s historic deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina.