October 27, service members with the 1st Territorial Unit, Dainava Military District, National Defence Volunteer Force, were decorated at a ceremony in the Town Hall Square in Alytus after carrying out a round of duty at the United Nations-led Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The ceremony was attended by NDVF Chief of Staff Lt Col Mantas Juozaitis, Commander of the 1st Territorial Unit, Dainava Military District Lt Col. Linas Sadauskas, commanders of other NDVF territorial units, representatives of other military and militarized organisations, local municipality representatives, families of the re-deployed soldiers, other guests.
“You have spent six month on the multinational deployment which presented a number of challenges as you were contributing to the efforts of the international community to build security. I thank you, soldiers, for you dedication, to your families – for their support, to your leadership – for the intense pre-deployment training, and the unceasing care throughout the deployment,” said Lt ColMantas Juozaitis.
The National Defence System Medals for Deployment to Multinational Operations were bestowed on forty two career and volunteer servicemembers who served as the 9th rotation of the Lithuanian Force Protection Unit. The Lithuanians were conducting force protection tasks in composition of the German Contingent in Mali for six months.
“We could not be members of the European Union and NATO without the self-sacrificing service of our troops far from home, we would have no allies here in Lithuania, we would not have such a safe environment to our nation and State. If not for the families and employers, our troops would not be able to focus on the mission and fulfil their duties. I thank the troops for their excellent service and their families and employers – for the unconditional support and understanding,” said Commander Lt Col Linas Sadauskas.
The UN launched the Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission MINUSMA in Mali in 2013. The Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Force has been contributing to the operation since 2017. MINUSMA is designed to stabilise the situation in the country, to support the implementation of the transition action plan, to protect civilian population, to promote and protect human rights, arrange humanitarian assistance, preservation of cultural heritage, and help ensure justice and national and international levels.
The 9th rotation of the Lithuanian troops was replaced by the 10th one back in October, the latest Force Protection Unit is manned by the 3rd Territorial Unit of the Žemaičiai Military District, NDVF.
Photo credits: Asta Kazlauskienė