Soldiers honoured with medals for their service in Kosovo

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

All thirteen soldiers who returned from their six-month KFOR mission in Kosovo were awarded with the Medal of the Minister of Defence “For Service Abroad” at the offices of the General Staff of ACR on Friday 12th September.

Brigadier General Petr Mikulenka, Deputy Director of the MoD Joint Operations Centre, presented the medals to the officers who served in various posts at the KFOR International Staff Headquarters in Pristina.

“I was responsible for all the geographical issues of the KFOR mission”, said Commander of the group, Major Otakar Ruzicka. “The other officers served at the Air Control Centre, some were responsible for the communication and information systems, or served in the Intelligence Service.”

“Primarily, I co-ordinated the air operations of the helicopter unit, but I was also a co-author of the air regulations which the units are required to adhere to,” stated one of the awarded soldiers, 1st Lieutenant Marcel Prokop.

According to the Commander, the situation in Kosovo is relatively calm. “For somebody who comes to Kosovo for a short period of time, it may seem to them that it is purposeless for us to be there but, after a longer stay, one can feel a type of tension in the air among the local people,” said Major Ruzicka. He added that this is largely due to the current economic situation and high unemployment, but also to ethnic differences and the hot-tempered nature of the inhabitants.

Czech soldiers have been serving in Kosovo since 1999. In 2011, the battalion-sized Czech contingent accomplished its mission at the Sajkovac Base. Since that time, the Czech Armed Forces have only been participating in the KFOR mission at its headquarters in Pristina.

September 17, 2014