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Barracks in Vukovar opens door to Eng Coy of CAF

Foto: MORH/ M. Čobanović
Foto: MORH/ M. Čobanović

Upon the initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and with the support from the Government of the Republic of Croatia,the Barracks “204th Brigade of the Croatian Army“

was formally opened in Vukovar on 10 November 2017, in the attendance of senior state officials – the President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the ministers of the Government of Croatia, local authorities and numerous visitors and residents of Vukovar. It was a project the Minister promised at the Government session held in Vukovar last year.
The ceremony commenced with the unveiling of the plaque with the Barracks name by Colonel  (Ret.) Branko Borković, who commanded the defence of Vukovar, and Pvt Jelena Dedaković, the daughter of Staff Brigadier (Ret.)Mile Dedaković, the first Commander of the 204th Croatian Brigade, and family members of the heroes of Vukovar (Babić, Šoljić and Zadro), followed by the blessing of  the Barracks facility by Ivica Jagodić, the superior of the Franciscan monastery in Vukovar.
The members of the Engineer Battalion of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade of the Croatian Army concluded their 25-km march from Vinkovci to Vukovar, headed by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Denis Tretinjak, made an impressive entry into the Barracks, to the sounds of the march. After the arrival of flag bearers with the official flag of the Republic of Croatia and the flags of the 204th Brigade of the Croatian Army and of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade, the official flag, carried by the members of the Honour Guard Battalion accompanied by the family members of the fallen and missing soldiers of the 204th Brigade,  was hoisted in the Barracks.
The visitors were officially welcomed by the Mayor of Vukovar Ivan Penava. “The Croatian Army has been strongly tied to Vukovar since 1991“., The Mayor extended appreciation to the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, as well as to the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević for their contributions to the completion of the valuable project, strategic goal and fulfilment of the promise.
The Prefect of the the Vukovar-Srijem County Božo Galić in his address expressed grief over the victims of the defence of Vukovar and pride over the presence of the Croatian Armed Forces in Vukovar. “The residents of Vukovar are attached to the Croatian Armed Forces, and their presence here is a great gift to us“, said the Prefect.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov said it was an event of importance for the Republic of Croatia.“We are today living the dream of all the fallen for Vukovar and Croatia; their sacrifice was not in vain. By returning of the unit of the Croatian Armed Forces to Vukovar we are paying our tribute to the heroic town“. General Šundov extended appreciation to all the contributors of the project and to the town of Vukovar, and emphasised that by the initiative of Minister Krstičević it was completed within a shortest period.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević extended congratulations from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia "It is with great honour and pride to be able to say, on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Vukovar Remembrance Day,  that I fulfilled my promise from the 17 November session of the Croatian Government, held here in Vukovar, that the victorious Croatian military would return to Vukovar, the heroic town and the symbol of the valour in the Homeland War.  The Minister praised the support of the Prime Minister and the contribution of the Ministry of Defence's staff assigned with the project.
“We succeded in building the modern barracks and continue upgrading the living and working conditions of our enlisted soldiers, NCOs and officers“, said the Minister.
Recalling the aggression of the Yugoslav People's Army on Vukovar, the Minister pointed out the strong tie between the victorious Croatian Army and the heroic town of Vukovar, and to its brave defenders. “The bond has today been reinforced with the return of the Croatian soldiers to the barracks named after the legendary 204th Brigade of the Croatian Army, whereby we are paying respects to our fellow combatants and defenders sacrifying their lives in the defence of this heroic town, and commemorating the year 91 and the victorious Homeland War and the Croatian defenders as our fundamental values".
The Minister stated that the sacrifice of the Croatian defenders should never fall into oblivion, for the sake of the future generations. “The return of the Croatian Armed Forces to Vukovar is to say that the heroes of Vukovar and others will never be forgotten and that we shall continue fighting for Croatia in their honour“.
"The Croatian Armed Forces have today returned to Vukovar, as has the military school graduation ceremony as Vukovar deserves it“, said the Minister, and stressed that the accomodation of the engineer unit was of security and economic importance for the town. He also announced the prospective accomodation of the entire engineer battalion in Vukovar, to be of assistance to the local population.
The Minister pointed out that the modern and well-equipped barracks upgraded the living and working standards of the Croatian Armed Forces and the importance of the concern for the members' family life and the abandonment of the commuting military.
Minister Krstičević addressed the members of the Engineer Company congratulating them on the march to their new home in Vukovar. "It is the attitude and the character of the victorious Croatian Army in the Homeland War, and of the Croatian Armed Forces today“.
The Minister stressed that it was a special day for those who continued to serve the homeland in the heroic town of Vukovar and expressed belief in the professional and efficient conduct of any task for the benefit of Croatia and its people.
The President of the Republic of Croatia as Supreme commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said in her address: "It is with great pride that I am reviewing the unit of the  Croatian Armed Forces in the Croatian Vukovar. The Croatian Armed Forces have today returned to the symbol of the defence from the Greater Serbian aggression; they are returning to the towns where they had to remain“. The President also underlined the merit of the defenders of Vukovar and highlighted the economic merit of the return of the units of the Croatian Armed Forces to their previous locations.
The formal opening of the Barracks was attended by the senior state officials, ministers and local authorities, the Ministry of Defence and of the Croatian Armed Forces, active and retired generals and senior officers, as well as by the elementary school pupils from Vukovar, and the Osijek-Baranja, Sisak-Moslavina and Varaždin County.
The ceremony featured the performance of the Croatian Armed Forces Orchestra and the soloists Ivan Androić and Nikša Radovanović and the Choir of the folk ensemble “Kristal" from Županja. The ceremony attenders were invited to visit Vukovar on the Vukovar Rememberance Day (18 November).
The visitors toured the new barracks in Vukovar. It is situated in an area of 10,000 km2, with comprising four facilities and accompanying amenities. It was built in three months time, by a contractor  selected at a public tender. The funds for the construction (totalling 16 mil HRK) were allocated in the state budget, and the engagement of the engineer units of the Croatian Armed Forces reduced the  overall cost. The Barracks is now housing the Engineer Company of the Engineer Battalion of the Croatian Army, previously situated in Vinkovci.
During their stay in Vukovar the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov and the delegation of the town of Vukovar paid respects at the Memorial Cemetery of the Victims of the Homeland War and to the victims of the helicopter crash in Vukovar in the Memorial Centre of the Homeland War .
Minister Krstičević and General Šundov met with the Mayor Penava and attended the formal session of the Vukovar-Srijem County Assembly in Županja, followed by the commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the tragic fate of civilians and defenders of Bogdanovci  and the memory of the fallen Albanian defenders from the Homeland War .
On the eve of the central ceremony, the Symphonic Wind Orchestra performed a patriotic song  concert as gift to Vukovar. 

Foto: MORH/ M. Čobanović 

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