400 S.C. Guard troops return home from Kosovo

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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Sgt. William Miles got new marching orders from his 3-year-old son and wife on Tuesday as he returned to South Carolina after nine months in Kosovo with his Army National Guard military police unit.

“Sgt. Miles Report for Daddy Duty,” and “Sgt. Miles Next Mission Kiss Me,” said posters they waved as they rushed to embrace their 26-year-old soldier at the unit’s welcoming ceremony.

“It feels good to be home,” said Miles, as he wiped tears from his cheeks and embraced them both. “That’s about all I have to say.”

The S.C. National Guardsman was one of about 400 soldiers who returned home during five ceremonies held across the state.

The men and women deployed last August with the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and worked as part of a multi-national security force to help keep the peace in the Balkan nation of Kosovo.

U.S. Guardsmen have served for years in a peacekeeping role, established in the wake of the Balkans war that lasted through the 1990s when the former Yugoslavia broke apart.

“We have a very supportive family,” said Miles’ 24-year-old wife Holly. She said the Kosovo deployment was made a bit easier since they were able to connect via computer camera programs. Miles also deployed for a year to Iraq several years ago, which was a more difficult time, his wife said.

The Guard sponsored gatherings for families and friends for the soldiers in other armories located in Charleston, Union, Gaffney and Conway.

Lt. Col. Stan O’Neal, battalion commander of the 51st Military Police Battalion, lauded the unit in welcoming remarks.

“They did a remarkable job,” said O’Neal. “You set an excellent example for conducting escorts and security missions.”

O’Neal also thanked friends and family members, pointing out that they had to make adjustments to support their soldiers while they were deployed.

“You supported them, and sacrificed, while they were gone,” O’Neal said.

Guard commander Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston said in a statement that the unit’s work helped to maintain a safe and secure environment in a part of the world filled with ethnic divisions.

“These heroic South Carolinians deployed to Kosovo at a pivotal time and successfully accomplished a critical mission. Their hard work over the past year has helped restore hope and build a culture of peace,” the two-star general said.

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gmbooks 06/05/13 - 11:09 am
Troops Return from Kosovo

Dear Editor:

Your article about troops returning from Kosovo was offensive. As a triple victim of Balkan Genocide, my grandparents were "ethnically cleansed" from Kosovo in 1897 after the Turkish/Greece war; they resettled in the Krajina region of Croatia where my father was born. When my father reached the age of 13 the family was again ethnically cleansed during WWI and were brought to the United States as "Displaced persons" a politically correct term for becoming a refugee.

In 1941 Croatians locked 97 Serbs inside their church in the village of Vojnic and burned it to the ground—17 of those victims were my relatives. During "Operation Storm" in 1995 when 250,000 Serbs were cleansed from Croatia, the last 5 relatives of my name were too old and too sick to flee—I was notified a month later by the Red Cross that they were found with their throats slit. When do I deserve justice or "peace" of mind?

I hardly need your media spin about a bunch of 20 year-olds going to Kosovo after the U.S. trained, armed and abetted the Croats, Albanians and Bosnian Muslims and bombed the Serbs for 78 days doing $80 billion in damage to Serbia where NATO perpetrated "Ecocide" on the entire Serb population to now read that the war-makers are now "peacekeepers," how appalling. Do I need to remind your readers that birth defects in Serbia have risen 3,000% in the past 14 years or that cancer has risen 4 fold?

Since the end of the war in 1999 and the arrival of 17,000 NATO troops in Kosovo, 513 ancient Serbian Orthodox Christian churches have been destroyed, many were listed by UNICEF as World Treasures with some of the finest frescoes in the world from the 12th and 13th centuries. This destruction was done right under the noses of these so call "peacekeepers?" Not a single Albanian has been indicted for these crimes against humanity.

One of our Serbian monasteries was destroy in the last 60 days, apparently your South Carolina troops were too busy packing to come home to notice, or worse, never lifted a finger to protect the minority Serb population against these Muslim terrorists?

And by the way, Camp Bondsteel is the largest American military based in the world built since Vietnam, constructed by Brown and Root on a 1,000 acres of land usurped from Serbian farmers who were "ethnically cleansed" and are now refugees in Belgrade. Those Serbian farmers were never compensated a single dime for the land we Americans have stolen from them. Serbs suffered 400 years of Muslim Slavery under the Ottoman Turks and the US has proven that we remain expert and have honed our skills at population destruction based on our vast experience with American Indians.

Former Yugoslavia did not "brake apart" as you implied, Ante Markovic the Croatian Prime Minister of Yugoslavia sent Serbian troops to attack Croatia in 1991. He then resigned and fled during the night to Croatia knowing full well that he had opened Pandora's box of violence. Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo were amputated from sovereign Serbian territory and like Croatia, the Albanians ethnically cleansed 23% of the Serb population as the US stood and watched in silence. I remind you that Serbs were a majority in Kosovo for 970 years until WWII; that Serbs built 1,500 churches and monasteries in an area the size of Los Angeles; that 45% of the Albanians in Kosovo are illegal aliens from Albania who have entered Serbia as easily as the Mexicans who cross our borders each night in San Diego. Pretending that these illegal aliens have more rights than indigenous Serbs is ugly historical revisionism emanating from our State Department.

William Dorich, Los Angeles

The writer is the author of 6 books on Balkan history including his 1992 book, Kosovo. He is the recipient of the 1997 "Order of St. Sava," the highest recognition bestowed on a layperson by the Holy Synod of Serbian Orthodox Bishops and "An Award of Merit" from the Serbian Bar Association of America.

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