EU honours Czech soldier with highest award
The first soldier to receive the newly introduced EU Medal for Extraordinary Meritorious Service was the Czech Corporal C. H. from the 44th Light Motorised Battalion based at Jindrichuv Hradec. The medal was awarded for the corporal's prompt reaction during the attack on the Headquarters of the EU Training Mission in Bamako, Mali.
The handover ceremony, held at the European Union Council on 11th January, was a reminder of the incident which took place on 21st March last year just a few days after the 7th ACR unit had taken up its operational task to protect the EUTM Headquarters. That evening, Corporal C. H. fatally shot one the terrorists who had opened fire on the mission personnel with an AK-47 rifle.
"I had to be extremely careful as ricocheting bullets from my MINIMI 7,62mm machine gun could have endangered my colleagues stationed at the nearby sentry cabin," explained Corporal C. H.
The ceremony was overseen by Ms. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, based on the recommendation of the German Brigadier General, Werner Albl, who was the EUTM Mali Commander during the 7th ACR unit's rotation.
The ceremony was also attended by Czech Lieutenant, General Miroslav Zizka, and other permanent national Military Representatives to the EU. The Medal was presented by Finnish Lieutenant General, Esa Pulkkinen, Director General of the EU Military Staff.
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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek
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January 20, 2017