Romanian troops dead in theatres of operations were commemorated on Wednesday at the Heroes’ Monument in Tineretului Park in Bucharest at a small ceremony attended by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and Defence Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
“Today, we are paying tribute to all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in theatres of operations on behalf of the country and for the country. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten, and the families of our heroes will find permanent support in the Romanian Army,” said Ciuca.
He mentioned that the first participation in foreign operations was recorded under a UN mandate in 1991, when the Romanian Army contributed a field hospital to the Multinational Gulf Security Force (MGSF), the international Coalition against Iraq, and military observers to United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).
Participation in UN missions in Somalia, Angola, Eritrea, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, India, Pakistan, South Sudan followed, most recently, by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, according to Ciuca.
Romania joined this last mission, carried out under the flag of the United Nations, for a year with the “Carpathian Pumas” detachment, consisting of 120 soldiers and four IAR-330 L-RM helicopters, the most substantial contribution of Romania to a UN mission.
At the same time, Romania decided to participate in NATO missions, starting with the signing of the Partnership for Peace in 1994, even though it was not a member back then.
In a short time, Ciuca mentioned, Romania decided to join the efforts of crisis management and resolution in the Western Balkans, and in 1996, a detachment of engineers was deployed with the NATO operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, IFOR, to carry out demining, repairing roads and bridges, construction and restoration of buildings.
This first participation in a NATO mission was followed by many others, with the participation of the Romanian military being always unfolded under the sign of constant efforts in order to ensure security, stability and peace, conflict prevention, and conflict resolution by peaceful means.
Romania’s first participation in military operations under the flag of the European Union coincided with the EU’s first mission in 2003 in North Macedonia. Today, Romania is participating in all six active EU military missions.
“These are complex missions that have significantly contributed to the Romanian Army’s adaptation to the present challenges and, at the same time, have been solid arguments for NATO integration and the strategic partnership with the United States. We owe our respect to veterans in theaters of operations,” said Ciuca, according to Agerpres.
According to him, November 11 commemorates the sacrifice of posthumous Lieutenant Iosif Silviu Fogorasi, the first Romanian soldier to die in 2003 in the Afghan theatre of operations.
The minister mentioned that 30 Romanian soldiers died have in theatres of operations and almost 200 have been injured.
Currently, approximately 1,000 Romanian troops are active in theatres of operations and missions outside Romania.
“Admire those who prevail, remember the fallen,” Marius Apostol, a soldier wounded while on a mission, told Wednesday’s ceremony.
In Bucharest and the garrisons where there are military bases that have carried out missions in theatres of operations, scaled-back military and religious ceremonies were organised on Wednesday.
Veterans Day in the theatres of operations was created under Law 150/2014 amending and supplementing Government Emergency Ordinance 82/2006 for the recognition of the merits of the Army personnel participating in military actions and granting some rights to them and the descendants of the fallen soldiers.
November 11 was chosen for its symbolism – the entry into force, on November 11, 1918, at 11:00hrs, of the Armistice between the Allied Powers and Germany that ended WWI and paved the way for Romania’s December 1, 1918 Greater Union.