Camp Bondsteel, Serbia
Camp Bondsteel is located near Uroševac (Ferizaj) city in the Yugoslav province, eastern region of Kosovo. Established in June 1999, it is the main base for the US army in Kosovo. Camp Bondsteel is the largest and the most expensive foreign military base built by the US in Europe, since the Vietnam War.
Camp Bondsteel base serves as the headquarters for Multinational Task Force East (MNTF-E), led by the US army. The MNTF-E is part of the Kosovo Force (KFOR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) peacekeeping force. In February 2010, the MNTF-E officially changed its name to Multi-National Battle Group-East (MNBG-E). The base houses about 7,000 troops and civilian employees.
Kosovo is a disputed territory located on the Balkan Peninsula. Camp Bondsteel is named after James Leroy Bondsteel, a US Army Staff Sergeant who served during the Vietnam War and received the Medal of Honour.
Construction of the base began immediately after the controversial 78-day, NATO bombing on the former Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War. Camp Bondsteel was established to provide safety and security in the region. In February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared itself an independent state from Serbia.
Design and construction
Construction of the camp was started immediately after the Kosovo War, in south-east Kosovo near the Macedonian border. Camp Bondsteel spreads over 955-acres (3.86km²).
The base area was built on the rolling hills and farmland near Uroševac by flattening two hills and filling the valley between them. Camp Bondsteel was constructed by the 568 Combat Support Engineer Company and 94th Engineer Construction Battalion (ECB) in partnership with Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR). The US Army Corps of Engineers was the project manager.
The base has 250 semi-permanent South East Asia (SEA) huts for offices and living quarters with advanced facilities such as internet access. The houses at the camp are mostly built with wood. A 25km road and a confiscated weapons storage system were constructed by the 94th ECB. The base has a detention facility, its own power generators and satellite dishes.
Camp Bondsteel strategically lies close to the planned Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian Oil (AMBO) pipeline. Also known as the Trans-Balkan, the pipeline project will transport the Caspian oil from Bulgaria to Albania via Macedonia. The $1.5bn AMBO pipeline is sponsored by the US-based consortium Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation. It is expected to be completed in 2011. One of the objectives of the base is that it is expected to protect the AMBO.
Camp Bondsteel facilities
Camp Bondsteel serves the NATO mission in Kosovo. The US portion of MNBG-E has 650 soldiers from North Dakota Army National Guard and more than 800 soldiers from the 14 states and Virgin Islands in the Task Force Falcon.
The contributing nations of MNTF-E include soldiers from Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Armenia, Greece and small detachments from 32 other countries.
In February 2010, NATO announced that the total size of army in Kosovo would be adjusted to 10,000 troops under the Deterrent Presence plan. The five MNTF in Kosovo would be renamed Multi-National Battle Groups.
Camp Bondsteel has several facilities such as a two-storey post exchange (PX) with clothes, food, small furniture, televisions, books, computers, phones, CDs, DVDs and video games. The base also has the best hospital in Kosovo, three gyms, two morale welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities, football and softball fields and a film theatre. The Laura Bush Education Center at Camp Bondsteel offers classes through Central Texas College and University of Maryland University College.
Other facilities include two dining facilities, two cappuccino bars, and an Anthony's Pizza pizzeria, Taco Bell, Burger King, a chapel, two laundry facilities, a military police station and a fire station.
KBR is the prime contractor responsible for operations at the camp. The company operates rail and airfield facilities and provides firefighting services, electricity, water, product lines, laundry and meals.
Trees were cut to provide proper line of sight from the watch towers and for fields of fire.
The outer perimeter of the base is about 14km and is surrounded by a 2.5m high earthen and concrete barrier wall.
The base is protected by 84km of concertina wire and 11 guard towers, built with concrete pad and accessible entrance ladders, around the perimeter of the camp. They allow the soldiers to view the area from 18ft above the ground.
The south perimeter of the Kosovo base has a 52 helipad airfield for helicopter aviation. It was constructed in August 1999.