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    • US Army Remembers the Kosovo Campaign

      US Army Soldiers man a security checkpoint in Kosovo, 1999
      Image credit: US Army

      Today the United States marks the twenty third anniversary of the start of the Kosovo Campaign.

      On the night of March 24, 1999, the US Army, along with its NATO allies, launched air operations to protect Kosovar Albanians from Serbian forces in the former Yugoslavia.

      Striking military and paramilitary targets across Kosovo and Serbia, NATO aircraft conducted thousands of sorties over 78 days of air operations.

      Ethnic Serbs inside and outside of the so-called Federal Yugoslavian Republic government, led by Serbian President and war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, had organized pogroms against the mostly Muslim ethnic Albanian populations in the region.

      Following the mass murder of hundreds of Kosovar Albanians in 1998-1999, thousands more fled the country, causing a massive humanitarian crisis.

      An American Soldier distributes humanitarian aide to Kosovar refugees
      Image credit: US Army

      The failure of earlier peacekeeping and stability operations in Bosnia, along with a breakdown of peace accords in early 1999, influenced President Bill Clinton to deploy the US Army to help prevent further ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

      Serving as part of NATO Operation Allied Force, over 5,100 American servicemen and women supported missions targeting the Serbian military’s capabilities to carry out atrocities against other groups in its zone of control.

      Necessitating a shift in focus to Unconventional Warfare (UW) tactics, techniques, and procedures, US forces put themselves in harm’s way many times while working to stop genocide in the southern Balkans region.

      US Veterans who deployed to Kosovo as part of Operation Allied Force received the Kosovo Campaign Medal for their service.


      Kosovo Campaign Medal
      Image credit: US Department of Defense

      The work did not stop there. US stabilization forces remained in Kosovo until December 31, 2013.

      The events of this period of Army history reflect many of the challenges witnessed in the prelude to the First World War. And in a world in which some things never seem to change, Americans stand prepared to defend those in peril.

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