Serbian Army visit: Military Academy ("West Point") & Air Defense Brigade
We were warmly received by the 2 separate military institutions we visited today:
- 250th Air Defense Missile Brigade (which was busy in 1999 fighting against us)
- the Serbian Military Academy (combination West Point & US Army War College)
The 250th's greatest victory may have been its shooting down of a Stealth Bomber (which, I'm told, just isn't done!) as well as an F-16. We saw wings of both of these - they are on display as "trophies". But, it is more the wounds of battle that continue to be the 'heaviest' matter on the base of the 250th. 28 men died in the 1999 battles between the US and Serbia, when NATO pounded Belgrade (and other parts of Serbia) in its attempt to put Pres. Milosevic in line with American policy on Kosovo; in Serbia, this is known as "NATO Aggression". We visited the memorial to these fallen soldiers. And we found that the air defense unit, like the Military Academy leaders (see below), do not forget but indeed they have moved on - to seeking greater cooperation with the US and other members of NATO.
The other visit was just as welcoming and as professional as the first visit. We learned a lot about the Military Academy, its programs (from high school academy to undergrad, grad, and PhD programs) and its various cooperative efforts with more and more countries around the world.
As usual, the students asked brilliant questions ...