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During a ceremony held on Friday, March 26, at the Land Forces Staff HQ, US Ambassador in Bucharest handed in medals to 27 Romanian troops who stood out through their courage during the missions in the Iraqi TO.
Along with His Excellency Mark Gitenstein, present at the ceremony were Secretary of State Mihail Vasile-Ozunu, Deputy Chief of Operations and Training, Major General Valeriu Nicut and Chief of Land Forces Staff, Major General Dan-Ghica Radu.
The Romanian soldiers were awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service and Army Commendation on behalf of the American Land Forces.
After handing in the medals, His Excellency Mark Gitenstein appreciated the bravery and professionalism proved by the Romanian soldiers. "Our GIs are extremely proud to be fighting side-by-side with our Romanian allies. Indeed, in Afghanistan today, in Zabul Province, we have GIs under the command of a Romanian; something we haven't done since the Battle of the Bulge over 60 years ago.
You have been there for us in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq as well as numerous UN observer situations. You have just increased your commitment in Afghanistan by over 50 percent and you're doing it in Zabul Province, one of the most dangerous and strategically important provinces in Afghanistan. It's my understanding that you will now carry almost half the burden in that province with our troops. Itís just one more example of the confidence we have in your competence and courage. We are deeply grateful and proud", stated US Ambassador in Bucharest.
Secretary of State Mihail Vasile-Ozunu conveyed the message of the Minister of National Defence, who noted that the award received by the Romanian soldiers from the American partner, with whom they fought side by side, is a reason of pride and a token of appreciation of their conduct during the IRAQI FREEDOM missions. This way, our soldiers proved to have been real ambassadors of Romania.
"We may proudly submit that Romania will keep acting as a security provider within the North-Atlantic Alliance and that our military are able to perform missions and commitments assumed alongside the US Military. We owe respect and appreciation to the American and Romania soldiers who engage all their strengths, competence and determination in fighting against terrorism, taking on the same risks in order to protect common values and to face the same threats.

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Some 8500 Romanian soldiers participated in missions in Iraq for a six years, alongside American, British, Italian and Polish troops, as part of Infantry battalions, Military Police companies, Engineering teams, Medical detachments, Logistics groups, Intelligence detachments and commands.

Last summer they reported "Iraqi-mission accomplished" and marched under the Arch of Triumph in Bucharest, as proof of the fact that Romania is a responsible and respectable member of the international community.

Romanian Armed Forces paid their tribute to this mission. Bogdan Hancu and Ion Grosanu are two of the heroes killed on duty while other 14 troops have been wounded.

By its participation in the operations in Iraq, the Romanian Military contributed to the promotion of our country's interests in the Middle East and to further building Romania's status as a credible partner within the Multinational Coalition and NATO.

MoND Press Office


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Actualizare: 20.01.2019