Members of the Croatian Armed Forces and of the Police attended the 23 Military and…
The International Military Operations Centre was named after Josip Briški, a member of the Special Forces Command fatally killed in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, in a ceremony held at Vitez Damir Martić Barracks in Rakitje on 1st October.
Alongside the Briški family, the naming ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević as an envoy of the president of the Republic of Croatia and the commander-in-chief of the Croatian Armed Forces; the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Drago Matanović; the Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Siniša Jurković; the Commander of the Special Forces Command Brig. Gen. Perica Turalija; the Commander of the Josip Briški International Military Operations Centre Col. Ivan Miloš; representatives of the Military Diplomatic Corps in the Republic of Croatia; and other high-ranking state and military dignitaries.
The emblem of the Josip Briški International Military Operations Centre was unveiled by the late Cpl. Josip Briški’s widow Stella and the Commander of the Special Forces Command Brig. Gen. Perica Turalija.
In his address, Minister Krstičević pointed out: “By honouring Croatian soldiers fallen in both wartime and peacetime, we preserve true ideals and values.”
The minister also emphasized that Josip Briški had lived and served by those ideals and values, ultimately giving his most prized possession – his life – for them.
“Josip sacrificed his life for peace and we pay tribute to his sacrifice by naming the centre where soldiers are trained for serving in international peacekeeping missions after him,” said Minister Krstičević, adding that the new name was to serve as motivation to members of the Croatian Armed Forces to strive for excellence in training and task execution as well as to manifest unyielding fidelity to their homeland and loyalty to the Croatian Armed Forces, following the example Josip Briški, a model soldier during his time in the military.
The minister underlined that tasks assigned to members of the Croatian Armed Forces were growing more demanding and complex, especially in international military operations, where soldiers were exposed to various challenges on a daily basis: “Although security threats in such an environment can never be fully eliminated, quality training can reduce the risk of an incident happening. A great responsibility therefore lies on all training centres of the Croatian Armed Forces, especially the International Military Operations Centre.”
“Likewise, naming the International Military Operations Centre after Josip Briški is a sign of respect for all Croatian soldiers since the Homeland War [1991 – 95] who have sacrificed their lives at the altar of the homeland for the inception of the Republic of Croatia and the promotion of the victorious Croatian Armed Forces’ values,” said Minister Krstičević.
The deputy commander of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces called upon the trainees and staff at the International Military Operations Centre to serve their homeland as honourably as Josip Briški had done.
“To be named after a famed member of the Croatian Armed Forces is both a great honour and a great responsibility. As of today, this centre bears the name of Josip Briški, which symbolically stands for all fallen Croatian soldiers,” said Lt. Gen. Matanović.
The commander of the Josip Briški International Military Operations Centre guaranteed that every employee at the centre would pass on the name of Josip Briški with honour and dignity, no matter where they were. “Just like we treasure the memory of all victims killed in the Homeland War, we value and show respect for the sacrifice made by every member of the Croatian Armed Forces in the modern era,” underlined Col. Miloš.
In memory of Josip Briški, Minister Krstičević made the decision to name the International Military Operations Centre after the tragically deceased member of the Croatian Armed Forces.
The International Military Operations Centre was founded on 1st March 2001. To this date, 13 courses have been designed there in line with standards set by NATO, the UN and the EU. The centre’s mission is to train members of Croatian and foreign armed forces as well as employees of state institutions for staff duties and other roles in NATO/UN/EU-led operations and to oversee the training of units and task forces set to take part in on-going NATO/EU/UN-led operations.
So far, over 5,000 people have gone through pre-deployment training at the centre, including 450 foreigners from more than 50 countries.
Text by PETRA KOSTANJŠAK
Photo by MLADEN ČOBANOVIĆ
Translation by IVA GUGO