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In Pictures: KFOR RC-E Conducts Joint Demolition

Kosovo Security Forces Sgt. 1st Class Besart Berisha, an explosive ordnance disposal instructor, instructs Italian Army Brig. Gen. Michele Risi, the commander of NATO’s Kosovo Force, how to operate a detonator certification on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina, Kosovo on Oct. 2, 2020. Credit: Melisa Washington

Explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers from Kosovo Force Regional Command-East and Kosovo Security Force conducted joint demolition operations and EOD certification for eight cadets on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina, Kosovo Oct. 1-2.

KFOR Regional Command-East Task Force EOD, organic to 720th EOD out of Baumholder, Germany, provided assistance and oversight for the KSF-led demolition and certification.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bradway Byrd, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader with Kosovo Force Regional Command- East, observes Kosovo Force Security EOD as they prepare explosive material for demolition on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina, Kosovo on Oct. 2, 2020. Credit: Melisa Washington

“Although the certification and demolition is being run autonomously by KSF, it is still the mandate of KFOR to remove unexploded ordnance from Kosovo,” said 1st Lt. Michael Villahermosa, commander of Task Force EOD. “The munitions being disposed of today are UXO and it is our responsibility to ensure they are disposed of.”

Kosovo Security Force Lt. Petra Loxha, and explosive ordnance disposal instructor, brief Italian Army Brig. Gen. Michele Risi, the commander of NATO’s Kosovo Force, on EOD certification on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina. Credit: Melissa Washington

Under the supervision of their highly-experienced instructors, KSF EOD cadets disposed of 16 unexploded ordnance munitions ranging from hand grenades to mortar rounds, remnants from past conflicts in the region.

EOD certifications are vital for KSF in order to grow their force and maintain their capabilities to provide freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Valentine, an explosive ordnance disposal team leader with Kosovo Force Regional Command-East, observes Kosovo Security Force EOD cadets during a joint demolition operation on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina, Kosovo on Oct. 1, 2020. Credit: Melisa Washington

Kosovo Security Forces EOD instructor 1st Lt. Petrit Loxha said “This gives [the cadets] more experience and gives them the confidence to perform demolition.”

Villahermosa and Loxha originally met during a training exercise for KFOR 26. Loxha said the two organizations have had a seamless relationship since the beginning.

U.S. Army Sgt. Micah Navarette, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with Kosovo Force Regional Command- East, observes a Kosovo Security Force EOD certification on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina. Credit: Melisa Washington

“We got together pretty naturally and we have enjoyed the companionship,” said Loxha. “KFOR has been very helpful with the joint planning and being present to assistant instruct if needed.”

During the 27th rotation of Regional Command-East, KSF and KFOR RC-E responded to over 90 unexploded ordnance calls and conducted three joint demolitions. KSF EOD serves as the primary response for unexploded ordnance throughout Kosovo.

Kosovo Security Force Sgt. 1st Class Besart Berisha, an explosive ordnance disposal instructor, shows a detonator to U.S. EOD troops from Kosovo Force Regional Command-East on Harilaq Demolition Range outside of Pristina, Kosovo. Credit: Melisa Washington

“This demolition highlights the capabilities and independence of the KSF EOD when it comes to growing their own ranks,” said Villahermosa. “Every time that KFOR and KSF can remove a UXO from the environment, it ensures the safety of the people living here.”

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