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Trust and Esteem

Szöveg: László Szűcs |  2017. május 5. 9:25

Trust and esteem – these have been the characteristics of the work done by Portuguese and Hungarian troops in the KFOR Tactical Reserve Battalion over the last few years, Maj.-Gen. János Huszár, Commander, HDF Joint Force Command stated on Friday, 28 April in Pristina.


Speaking at the Change of Command ceremony of the KFOR Tactical Reserve Battalion (TACRES Bn) held in Camp Slim Lines, Pristina, Kosovo, Maj.-Gen. Huszár said that over the last more than six years, in eight rotations, close to 1,000 Hungarian soldiers have served together with their Portuguese colleagues in the tactical reserve battalion. He pointed out that, as part of the Portuguese-led unit, the Hungarians have carried out all the tasks – strengthening a safe and secure environment, and providing freedom of movement for KFOR – which were assigned to the TACRES Bn operating under COMKFOR’s direct tactical control.

He added that the Hungarian Defence Forces – from now on, as the only nation of the TACRES Bn –, will continue their peacekeeping activities in Kosovo, because the security of the region is in the national interest of the country.


In his welcome speech, COMKFOR Maj.-Gen. Giovanni Fungo thanked the Portuguese soldiers for their role undertaken so far. He pointed out that the Portuguese contingent, and the so far Portuguese-led battalion, have made significant contributions to the peace and security of Kosovo.

Outgoing battalion commander Lt.-Col. António Da Silva Cardoso emphasized that the Portuguese troops – who have been present in the region since 1999, the beginning of the mission – have successfully accomplished their tasks. As he noted, altogether 18 Portuguese contingents have already served the peace of Kosovo in the KFOR TACRES Bn. The lieutenant-colonel concluded his speech with saying thanks, in Hungarian too, to the Hungarian soldiers serving in the country for their work.

Incoming battalion commander Lt.-Col. Attila Budai – who is at once the commander of the 16th rotation of the HDF KFOR Contingent (KFOR-16 HUNCON) – assured his predecessor that the command of the TACRES Bn will continue to be in good hands in the future. He added that the Hungarian troops will continue to do their best in the interest of working to the same high standards in Kosovo as before.


At the end of the ceremony, the COMKFOR handed over the flag of the TACRES Bn to Lt.-Col. Attila Budai, which signaled that the Hungarian contingent has officially taken over the command of the battalion and its complete task system. The lieutenant-colonel told us that the personnel of the KFOR-16 HUNCON had arrived in the area of operations in February, and have since conducted a number of in-theatre training events and practices. As a result, they achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) by the end of March. With the takeover of the TACRES Bn, the Hungarian contingent continues to operate only in the unit directly under COMKFOR’s tactical control, so the maneuver company, which has so far been operating in the subordination of the KFOR Multinational Battle Group East (MNBG-E) has finished its work and its personnel have integrated into the TACRES Bn, Lt.-Col. Attila Budai told us.

In answer to our question, Maj.-Gen. János Huszár underlined that with the changing security situation in Kosovo, the task system of the Hungarian contingent is expected to undergo further changes as well. By taking over all the tasks of the TACRES Bn, the Hungarian contingent, having increased in the numbers of personnel and technical assets, will continue participating in the NATO peacekeeping operation in Kosovo. The major-general added that although the security situation is currently calm in Kosovo, the tension is still palpable under the surface.


After the Change of Command ceremony, KFOR Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Patricia M. Anslow presented an award signed by the US Secretary of Defense – the Legion of Merit, one of the highest US military decorations – to Brig.-Gen. Ferenc Korom, who had served as deputy commander of the peacekeeping mission from the autumn of 2015 for a year. Brig.-Gen. Korom received the award from the KFOR Chief of Staff in recognition of his activities in his position.

“This is a huge honor, since I was the first Hungarian to fill the position of Deputy Commander KFOR. However, this is not only my personal recognition, but also the recognition of all Hungarian troops serving in Kosovo. This is a kind of collective work in which 18 NATO and partner nations are working together in the interest of maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kosovo", Brig.-Gen. Ferenc Korom said.

At the end of the event, Maj.-Gen. János Huszár presented awards to US and Polish troops serving in the KFOR Multinational Battle Group – East (MNBG-E).


Photo: Tünde Rácz