Following completion of the most recent rotation of U.S. units in Bosnia, U.S. troop strength now stands at 6,793 -- well below the 6,900 target the U.S. established as the size of its troop contribution for the post-June 1998 NATO stabilization mission in Bosnia.
From a total of almost 20,000 at the height of NATO's Bosnia operations in 1996, U.S. troop levels have steadily decreased as progress continued under the Dayton Peace Accords. The primary mission of the force is to maintain a deterrent presence as well as working to ensure a secure environment in which international organizations can reestablish a host of civil programs that will help peace endure in Bosnia. Decreases in the size of U.S. force contributions have occurred as a result of support element reductions and on-the-ground experience.
In a ceremony held at Eagle Base in Bosnia on Oct. 7, 1998, the 1st Cavalry Division relieved the 1st Armored Division. The 1st Armored Division now has completed two successful deployments to Bosnia, the most recent of which began Oct. 22, 1997. The unit, under the command of Maj. Gen. Larry R. Ellis, is based in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.
The 1st Cavalry Division began its deployment from Fort Hood, Texas, in September 1998. This was the first deployed unit to use the port of Rijeka, Croatia, as the seaport of debarkation. The 1st Cavalry Division is commanded by Maj. Gen. Kevin P. Byrnes.