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), Nato’s peacekeeping force.
The MNTF-E officially changed its name to Multi-National Battle Group-East (MNBG-E) in February 2010. The base can accommodate approximately 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.
The base construction 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.
The construction of the camp started immediately after the Kosovo War in south-east Kosovo near the Macedonian border.
Spread over 955-acres (3.86km²), the Camp Bondsteel base area was built on the rolling hills and farmland near Uroševac by flattening two hills and filling the valley between them.
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 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 the 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.
Nato announced that the total size of the army in Kosovo would be adjusted to 10,000 troops under the Deterrent Presence plan in February 2010. The five MNTF in Kosovo would be renamed to the 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 a hospital, 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 the 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.
Trees were cut to provide a proper line of sight from the watchtowers and for fields of fire.
The outer perimeter of the base is approximately 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 enable the soldiers to view the area from 18ft above the ground.
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 prime contractor KBR was responsible for operations at the camp. The company operates rail and airfield facilities and provides firefighting services, electricity, water, product lines, laundry and meals.
The south perimeter of the Kosovo base has a 52 helipad airfield for helicopter aviation. It was constructed in August 1999.
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