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A Memorial of the soldiers of the 21st Mountain Battalion killed in the theaters of operations was unveiled during a military ceremony organized at the unit HQ in Predeal on Thursday, January 28. The National Defence Minister, Gabriel Oprea, the US Ambassador Mark H. Gitenstein, and the chief of General Staff, Admiral Gheorghe Marin attended the ceremony. The US Ambassador awarded the "Bronze Star" medals to Major (post mortem) Vasile Iuliu Unguras and Second Lieutenant (post mortem) Claudiu Chira.
The ceremony occurred at the 21st Mountain Battalion HQ in the presence of the families of the heroes killed on duty who received the medals from the US Ambassador, the representatives of the local administration and the personnel of the 21st Mountain Battalion.
Mark H. Gitenstein, the US Ambassador in Romania, stated: "I am humbled by the honor of presenting these awards on behalf of the United States Government to two great Romanian warriors, Major Iuliu Unguras and 2nd Lieutenant Claudiu Chira, both of whom have paid the ultimate price in order to defend the shared common values of our two great nations. While these awards will not lessen the sorrow we feel for their loss, today we recognize their valor, selfless service, and sacrifice to their nation, the Land Forces and their battalion. May the names of Major Unguras and 2nd Lieutenant Chira, who died in violence in service of our countries never be forgotten, that we remember them with sorrow that we have not yet been able to shape the world in which they would have lived to be a better place. Let us remain committed to the course of peace and freedom for which they died".
The National Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea highly spoke of the US Ambassador gesture of awarding medals to the two officers of the 21st Mountain Battalion: "The Romanian Armed Forces and the families of our brothers in arms who received the medals see this gesture as the US Army and the US people's respect and gratitude for those scarifying for justice and freedom.
Minister Gabriel Oprea spoke of the Solemn Meeting for the 151st anniversary of the Unification of the Romanian Principalities when medals were awarded to the 14 soldiers killed on duty in the theaters of operations in Western Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan; the medals were handed over to the heroes' families.
"We will never consider we've done enough for the families of our heroes, but we will do everything to be together, to make them be part of the big family of the Romanian Armed Forces. We are and we will be close to the children, wives and parents of our heroes and we'll do everything we can for them so that they feel protected. Beside the moral, material and financial support we offer to these families such gestures come to honor the memory of our warriors and are meant always to keep the light in the icon lamp for those who in the name of their Motherland made the supreme sacrifice" stated the Minister of National Defence.

MoND Press Office


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Actualizare: 19.11.2018