USAREUR Public Affairs 
September 16, 2002


Authority passed to Keystone at Eagle Base
Multi-National Division (North) News Release

EAGLE BASE, Tuzla, Bosnia and HerzegovinaWith the ancient military tradition of passing the guidon, the transfer of authority for Multinational Division (North) in Bosnia-Herzegovina shifted from Hawaii’s “Tropic Lightning” Division to Pennsylvania’s Keystone Division.

Michael Tolzmann, USAREUR Public Affairs

Brig. Gen John T. von Trott, commander, 28th Inf. Div., accepts the MND(N) guidon from Lt. Gen. John B. Sylvester, commander, Peace Stabilization Force, at the Transfer of Authority ceremony at Eagle Base, Sept. 16, 2002.

Outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack, Jr. of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) passed both the flag and responsibility for the northern sector of the Stabilization Force to Brig. Gen. John T. von Trott of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Pennsylvania National Guard.

“Only time will tell the true measure of our success, that is, what Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes in the years ahead,” said Swannack, who will become commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. “The people of this country now have a chance at peace and prosperity that they would not have had without SFOR.”


For the past six months SFOR 11 soldiers made significant contributions in maintaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 


Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Luster, 354th MPAD

Command Sgt. Maj. Horace Pysher, incoming MND(N) command sergeant major, 28th Inf. Div., unrolls the 28th Inf. Div. colors.

More than 2,400 displaced families in MND (N) returned to their pre-war homes, signifying an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous year. An additional 300,000 square meters of land were cleared of mines, doubling last year’s total. Because of SFOR 11 support, the Armed Forces of BiH initiated great strides in reducing weapons storage sites from 49 to 32, and improving safety in the remaining sites. Active Harvest, a periodic weapons collection program, disarmed the equivalent of an entire division by 25th ID staff estimates.


Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Luster, 354th MPAD

The colors are dismissed at the Transfer of Authority ceremony.

“The men and women who took on this job were part of an extraordinary mission, and I’m proud to have been one of them. I’m proud of the team we assembled and all that you accomplished,” said Swannack, paying tribute to his charges before handing over responsibilities to his successor. The magnitude of the responsibility was not lost on von Trott, who now leads an international contingent to continue the progress initiated by his predecessors.

“The actions we take today need to always be considered in the context of history. The soldiers of SFOR 12 are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to that historic process – the Dayton process- -- which ultimately leads to peace and security for all the people of this beautiful country,” he said.

“I marvel at the remarkable international cooperation represented in this command. It is a true multi-national command, a team of both military and civilian personnel brought together for the sole purpose of supporting the Dayton Accords and furthering the cause of peace in this part of the world,” added von Trott. “It is my intent to continue the productive work and fruitful initiatives so ably advanced by SFOR 11.”

In addition to international forces of the Russian Military Contingent, Turkish Battalion Task Force, and Nordic-Polish Battle Group, von Trott’s command represents a significant milestone in the relevancy of Reserve Component integration as nearly the entire rotation is comprised of National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers.

The 49th Armored Division was the first National Guard element to command MND (N) for SFOR 7, followed by the 29th Infantry Division (SFOR 10). Those headquarters oversaw two Active Component maneuver elements, which have been replaced entirely ground forces of the National Guard. This includes Task Force Blue Steel (1-109th Infantry) from Scranton, Pa., and Task Force Saber (1-104th Cavalry) from Philadelphia. Both units originate from the Pennsylvania National Guard.

More than 1500 citizen-soldiers were mobilized for the sixth-month assignment. Back home they are the teachers, police officers, doctors and construction workers that form the backbone of their communities.

For more information, contact the Task Force Eagle Public Affairs Office at (PTT) 814-285.