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Lithuanian Warrior statuette for 2021 presented to diplomat Justina Jakavonytė, the only civilian in the “Kabul Eleven” operation team

Lithuanian Warrior statuette for 2021 presented to diplomat Justina Jakavonytė, the only civilian...

The 14th Lithuanian Warrior Awards were held ahead of the Armed Forces Day at Vytautas the Great War Museum in Kaunas. The honor is bestowed in recognition of noble, selfless and often risky deeds of the military and civilians. The main Lithuanian Warrior statuette this year was presented to Justina Jakavonytė, a diplomat and the only civilian in the team that completed the “Kabul Eleven” operation in Afghanistan in late August earlier this year.  

The diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the team-member in charge of the arrangement of all formal aspects needed for the historical evacuation of civilian interpreters, Afghan nationals, by plane from the danger zone in Afghanistan to Lithuania. As a result of the five days of operation at Kabul Airport in extraordinarily hazardous environment, 176 people were saves. Most of them assisted the Lithuanian Armed Forces during the operation in Afghanistan in 2005 –2013.

“We have become familiar with five stories. Each of them inspires us for our own heroic deed, each one has followers and supporters. While to me, today everyone is a hero if they fulfil their duties with honesty. Those who assist civilian institutions in the fight against the pandemic, those who contribute to the border protection against the irregular migration, as well as those who serve in the international operations in hot-spots. My congratulations to all who mark Lithuanian Armed Forces away from home and to their families. Your contribution to national defence by supporting your military family members is priceless,” said Chief of Defence Lt Gen Valdemaras Rupšys who was the presenter of the main statuette at the event.

The awards were presented to five selfless heroes, in total. The other awards were given for “for indirect support in domestic support operations”, courage in saving human lives, and preservation of memory.  

The awards are held annually by the Lithuanian Armed Forces to underline noble actions that troops and civilians take off-duty, to honor them , and thus promote the values of civic society. The main statuette is a 30 cm bronze depiction of the 14th c Lithuanian warrior created by late sculptor Romas Kvintas.

Photo credits: Sgt SPc 1st Class Ieva Budzeikaitė