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Barracks "7 Guards Brigade - Puma" opens Varaždin

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

The ceremony was attended by the President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević as Envoy of the Prime Minister, member of the Croatian Parliament Anđelko Stričak as Envoy of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov, the families of the fallen, missing and deceased members of the Brigade, the members of the Association "7th Guards Brigade Pume" and the representatives of the local authorities and other senior visitors. 

After the reading of the history of the unit and the address by the Commander of the 7th  Guards Brigade, Brigadier General Željko Dvekar, and the State Secretary for Defence Zdravko Jakop as wartime members of the Brigade had the honour to unveil the coat of arms of the Barracks "7th Guards Brigade Puma". The delegations also paid respects to the fallen, missing and deceased members of the Brigade. 

The ceremony featured a line-up of the members of the 2nd Mechanised Battalion "Puma" and a report by the Commander of the Armoured Mechanised Brigade Colonel Mijo Validžić to the President of the Republic and the reading of the order on the displacement of the 2nd Mechanised Battalion "Pumae" in the newly furbished barracks in Varaždin and a presentation of berets to 28 young members. 

In her address President Grabar-Kitarović expressed pride over the marking of an important day. "Pume" have since the establishment been inextricably tied to the beautiful baroque town of Varaždin, their place of departure to all the victories of the Homeland War and the final hard battles for the freedom of Croatia", said the President.

 Barracks


"I wish to reiterate my appreciations and congratulations to the Croatian Armed Forces, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister on the decision to return the unit to Varaždin and other towns in Croatia. 

The Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević in his address said: “As promised two years ago the Government in office has enabled a unit of the Croatian Armed Forces to return to Varaždin, after a decade."Puma" will protect the town and guarantee the security of northwest Croatia, the future and prosperity of this region and the whole of Croatia". 

The Minister emphasised that the march from Našice to Varaždina in bad weather conditions, displayed the character and the respect for the values of the Homeland War, and demonstrated the "Pume" to be dignified successors of the 7th Guards Brigade that the Barracks was named after".

Barracks


All along the 184-km journey local residents recognised your deepest respect for the fallen fellow combatants, the homeland, and the town  you are returning to. It also proved the Croatian people is attached to the Croatian Armed Forces We appreciate your honourable service and wish you welcome to Varaždin again. We have returned units to Vukovar, Sinj and Ploče and next year we shall see a unit return to Pula. The human resources are our priority and the most valuable asset and we shall continue upgrading the working and living standards for our enlisted soldiers, NCOs and officers", said the Minister, extending the members of "Pume"  holiday greetings and wishes for successful service in the new barracks The Minister wanted members of Puma to succeed in the new barracks and congratulated everyone present for Christmas and New Year.

The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces  General Mirko Šundov said that the unity of the Brigade and Battalion and the beautiful town,had been forged during the Homeland War and entered history  "I witnessed to the courage and braveness of the “Puma“ Brigade in the operations of the Homeland War. The Brigade had since its establishment valorously defended the homeland and were determined to sacrify their lives for the freedom. On this day of return to the home barracks my thoughts and memories  go to the fallen, missing and deceased fellow combatants that we are paying honour to today", said General Šundov.

The Envoy of the Speaker ofi the Parliament Anđelko Stričak emphasised that Varaždin  was the home of the  Guards Brigade and everything had been done to enable them to come back. "The contribution of the "Puma" Brigade to the conclusion of the Homeland War and to the peace took the lives of 92 members whom we shall never forget". 

The Prefect of the Varaždin County  Radimir Čačić said "Puma" are the pride of Varaždin i and were now back to their families, at Christmas time.

Otvorena vojarna u Varaždinu


The Mayor of Varaždin Ivan Čehok said the town had opened its door to the virtuous htroughout its history, and that it founded one of the best and bravest units. Varaždin is the cradle of the Puma Brigade, that had been and still is among the best", said Mayor Čehok, bidding welcome to the members of "Pume". 

The “Pume“ Battalion arrived to Varaždin on 18 December  2018, after a 184-km march and were warmly welcomed by many citizens, who had the opportunity to tour the static display and attend the Open Day in the Barracks. The ceremony marking the return of "Pumas" to Varaždin coincides with the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the 7th Guards Brigade and the 11th anniversary of the founding of the present 2nd Mechanised Battalion "Puma".

In view of the changing security environment and an efficient response to new security challenges the return of the Croatian Armed Forces units to their earlier locations is a part of new operational distribution of the units aimed at increased safety throughout the territory, improved living, working and training conditions of members of the Croatian Armed Forces and promotion of the military profession and preservation of the values of the Homeland War. 

The new  territorial distribution and the presence of the Battalion are aimed to instill the sense of safety in the local population. The planned return of units to the towns of Sinj, Vukovar, Ploče and Varaždin has to date been completed, and will be followed by the return of a unit to Pula too.

Foto: MORH / M. Čobanović 

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