PRISTINA, Kosovo – 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 Pristina Oct. 1-2.
KFOR Regional Command-East’s Task Force EOD, organic to 720th EOD out of Baumholder, Germany, provided assistance and oversight for the KSF-led demolition and certification.
“Although the certification and demolition is being run autonomously by KSF, it is still the mandate of KFOR to remove unexploded ordnance (UXO) 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.”
Under the supervision of their 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 to grow its force and maintain the capabilities to provide freedom of movement for the people in Kosovo.
“This gives [the cadets] more experience and gives them the confidence to perform demolition,” said 1st Lt. Petrit Loxha, Kosovo Security Forces EOD instructor.
Villahermosa and Loxha met during a training exercise for KFOR 26. Loxha said the two organizations have had a seamless relationship since the beginning.
“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 is the primary responder for unexploded ordnance throughout Kosovo.
“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.”