The legendary 5th Guards Brigade “Sokolovi“, marked its 25th anniversary
The 2018 festivities marking the Croatian Navy Day featured also a renaming ceremony of the former Barracks “Neretva” into the“116th Brigade of the Croatian Army”, and a formal line-up by the members of the Naval Infantry Company, to be based in the Barracks.The first commander of the 116th Brigade of the Croatian Army, Brigadier General (Ret) Nedjeljko Obradović recounted its war history and unveiled a plaque with the new name of the barracks along with the succeding commanders – Brigadier General Ivan Beneta and Colonel Joško Dragović. The Commander of the Company, Captain Branimir Todorić reported to the President of the Republic Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as Supreme Commander of the Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces. .
The President of the Republic, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov and the Commander of Croatian Navy presented the members of the Company with berets symbolising their belonging to the unit. The President expressed appreciation to the seamen and the members of the Croatian Army for their contribution during the Homeland War and underlined the importance of the return of the Croatian units to Ploče that was to rectify the previous decision and enable the economic and demographic growth of Ploče, a port highly important for the Croatian Navy. Congratulating the members of the Croatian Navy on the anniversary Minister Krstičević took also proudly congratulated the members of the newly established Naval Infantry Company .
“Having formally received your berets you have joined the Croatian Navy as successors of the glorious Croatian maritime tradition, which was preserved during the hardest days of the Homeland War,” said the Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, congratulating the Croatian marines – the members of the newly established Naval Infantry Company. THe Minister also said that the Croatian Armed Forces were returning to towns (Sinj, Vukovar, and Ploče and shortly in Varaždin and Pula too) closer to the people. The new territorial distribution ensures timely response to potential risks, challenges and threats and interventions assisting the local populations and civilian institutions if necessary. Minister Krstičević emphasised that the renaming of the Barracks after the legendary 116th Brigade of the Croatian Army was a sign of tribute and gratitude to all the members and their huge contribution to the defence of Croatia.
The Minister recalled the action “Zelena tabla – Male Bare“, that preceded the establishment of the Brigade, during which the Croatian defenders seized sizeable quantities of weapons and equipment that was later used in the defensive and liberating operations.The renaming of the Barracks continues the efforts by the present Government of the Republic of Croatia to preserve the symbols and values of the Homeland War in the Croatian Armed Forces to pay tribute to the wartime units and individuals with merit for the defence of the Republic of Croatia and in the development of the Croatian Army. The Minister also emphasised that pointed that the Navy Commando Unit and the Barracks “116th Brigade of the Croatian Army ” generated new capabilities of the Croatian Navy and that the systematic investments into modernisation and equipping of the Croatian Navy in retained presence in the Adriatic Sea. The capability level of the Croatian Navy is a function of the expertise of its personnel and the new young members enrolling in the Military Maritime Studies. “Educated, hard-working and true patriots are the future of the Croatian Navy“, concluded the Minister.
General Mirko Šundov addressed the members of the 116th Brigade, led by the first Commander – Brigadier General (Ret.) Nedjeljko Obradović, and the members of the families of the fallen, deceased and missing defenders from the Homeland War. “The naming of the barracks after the brigades of the Croatian Army is an important decision whereby the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces paid respect to all members of the brigades and all brave defenders fighting for free and independent Croatia. The inauguration of the Barracks “116th Brigade“ memorialises the wartime brigade of the Croatian Army which will have a lasting place in the history of Croatia. The development of the naval infantry’s abilities and their location in Ploče adds to the security of the area and ensured assistance to the civilian institutions“, concluded the Chief of the General Staff.
The Commander of the Croatian Navy said the Naval Infantry Company was established in response to security challenges, reviving a Croatian Navy’s capability discontinued 15 years earlier. Commodore Raffannelli reminded that during the Homeland War the unit that exercised the capabilty was the 53rd Naval Infantry Battalion that took part in all operations in the Zadar area and in south Croatia. Cdre Raffannelli underlined the engagement of the members of the Battalion (presently serving as active duty personnel in the Croatian Navy) with the establishment of the Naval Infantry Company and with training of its personnel, incorporating their experience from the Homeland War. Commodore Raffanelli noted that the naval landing operations in the islands and in the littoral, particular in the event of immediate threat, required top equipped and trained forces that are highly mobile, autonomous and flexible. Maritime countries, particularly those with indented coastline attach special attention to the capability. Cdre Raffanelli also said that the Naval Infantry Company would provide support to civilian institutions and the civilians hit by nature disasters and technological accidents, in search-and-rescue actions at sea, along the coast and in the islands, and that the revival of the barracks and of naval landing capabilities was of general interest, increasing the security and the growth of the local community.
The Mayor of Ploče Mišo Krstičević and the Prefect of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County Nikola Dobroslavić in their addresses praised the return of the Croatian Armed Forces in the area and stressed that it was an important day for the town of Ploče and the County. The distinguished visitors toured the accomodation facilities and observed a demonstration by the members of the Company, which will conduct the assigned tasks as Naval Infantry Company. .
The 158-member Naval Infantry Company is a unit of the Croatian Navy Flotilla and will develop capabilities for limited landing operations, protection and securing of military locations, assistance to civilian population hit by disasters, and will serve as a core unit for reserve forces.