Date: Wednesday, January 24, 1996 1:19PM

Local units support mission for peace

by Ruth Johnson
Stuttgart Citizen (Jan. 24, 1996)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service) -- As troops continue to file out to the Balkans, the Stuttgart military community takes an active role in support of the peacekeeping mission.

From international communication to U.S. deployment processing and mine detection to building bridges, local units and organizations are working together to bring a lasting hope to the war-torn regions, while taking care of families back home.

This mission is much like the Gulf War, said U.S. European Command Public Affairs Officer Col. Robert Mirelson, of the coalition mission joining 60,000 troops from more than 36 nations in support of peace.

Aside from its support of U.S. forces, EUCOM once again shares the responsibilities of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization endeavor.

The biggest challenge we (EUCOM) face is integrating communication between the 16 NATO and 20 non-NATO nations (participating in the Implementation Force), Mirelson said. The EUCOM Public Affairs Office established a Joint Information Bureau for the operation, providing public affairs support to more than 1,650 registered media in Tuzla alone, he said.

For the deployed, EUCOM is working on getting television and radio correspondence set up at each deployment site and bringing in communication equipment in time for the Super Bowl. Live radio out of Frankfurt should be available by mid-January.

For the intelligence directorate, the main challenge is establishing systems, from weather prediction to determining potential threats, without violating NATO or U.S. security processes, Mirelson said. This means working closely with NATO allies. Units from Stuttgart and Augsburg that have been affected by the deployment have unique missions.

Although one third of the available uniformed forces in Europe have been deployed, services and programs will not suffer, Mirelson said. Missions in our geographic area continue. More than 3,000 reserve component personnel have already started to arrive at installations throughout Europe approximately 300 in Stuttgart.

The 6th Area Support Group is making sure that the families left behind are taken care of through support groups and family assistance centers.

It's going to be a long, tough year, Mirelson said. Hopefully we'll get everyone out safely and successfully.