Duty First - Keeping the Peace by James Dietz
1st Division in Bosnia
The Multinational Division-North (Task Force Eagle) began another chapter in history when it deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina following the 1995 NATO-imposed cease fire which halted the destructive four-year Balkan conflict. Task Force Eagle (one of the most powerful formations ever fielded for peacekeeping operations) enforced the cease fire, supervised the marking of boundaries with the zone of separation between the former warring factions, and enforced the withdrawal of the combatants and the movement of their heavy weapons to cantonment areas. The 1st Armored Division led this force with elements of the 1st Infantry Division.
The Big Red One then deployed as a covering force to allow the safe return of the 1st Armored Division, and assumed control of its area of responsibility at Eagle Base, Tuzia, on 10 November 1996. Task Force Eagle was now the 1st Infantry Division's responsibility.
Demonstrations in the villages of Celic and Gajevi tested the resolve and ability of the newly arrived 1st Infantry Division units. An armed altercation between the former warring factions on 12 November 1996 threatened the fledgling peace process. Big Red One soldiers skillfully intervened and quickly brought this very tense situation under control.
Upon completion of the covering force missions, the 1st Infantry Division continued ensuring all military aspects of the Dayton Peace Accord were accomplished firmly and fairly. On 20 December 1996, the implementation (IFOR) came to successful conclusion and the 1st Infantry Division continued serving in Bosnia as part of the newly formed Stabilization Force (SFOR).This decision brought to close the mission of Operation Joint Endeavor and established Operation Joint Guard.
Soldiers of the Big Red One, along with multinational allied forces (a Russian Airborne Brigade, a Turkish Brigade, and a NORDPOLE Brigade made up of battalions and companies from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, and the Baltic countries) provided a secure environment for resettlement, ensured compliance by the various military forces, helped to encourage economic growth, and implemented numerous programs designed to support the transition to normalcy for all the people of Bosnia in September of 1997.
On 22 October 1997, the 1st Infantry Division transferred authority of Task Force Eagle back to the 1st Armored Division, which will continue the tradition of excellence until other U.S. Army forces are designated to serve.
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