4th Rapid Deployment Brigade – fixed part of the Army of the Czech Republic for 25 years

 05. 07. 2019      category: Army of the Czech Republic

Visitors of the celebration of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade’s 25th Anniversary on Wednesday 3rd June in Žatec witnessed the Brigade’s ceremonial muster. The ceremony was attended by a number of distinguished guests: the Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar, Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic General Aleš Opata, the Mayor of the town of Žatec and senator Zdeňka Hamousová, former Brigade commanders, honorary guests from the Czech Republic as well as from other countries, and others.

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Picture: 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its foundation in Žatec | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

The festive ceremony started punctually at 2pm – at this very moment two combat aircrafts JAS-39 Gripen flew over the Žatec main square. The Chief of the General Staff General Aleš Opata and the Brigade Commander Colonel of the General Staff Josef Trojánek then welcomed the Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar, who performed the parade of the mustered units of the Rapid Deployment Brigade.

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Picture: Honor Guard bringing the state flag of the Czech Republic | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

The Minister of Defence awarded the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic 1st Grade to 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade

In his speech Minister of Defence reminded the history of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade and its uneasy beginnings in the time when the Army was going through a fundamental transformation. At the same time he stressed the professional approach and expertise of all former members of the unit, as well as those who represent the unit at present.

“You became a reliable part not only of our Army, but also of our Allies. Not only within NATO exercises, but also in foreign operations in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali or Baltic region,” stressed Minister of Defence Metnar, and added that our soldiers were always professional in these missions, and did not lack courage and bravery. He stressed though that the success of the unit was not for free.

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Picture: The Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar bestowed the highest award “the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence 1st Grade” and a ribbon on the battle flag upon the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

“Some of you fell when fulfilling tasks in the fight against Islamic terrorists, and lost the most valuable thing they had - their life. Less than a year ago you lost your co-fighters and friends, who fell during fulfilling tasks in Afghanistan. Let us devote today’s ceremony to them, too, as they will remain heroes for all of us, whom we will remember forever,” said the Minister. The Minister of Defence Lubomír Metnar also stressed that the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade is one of the best in our Army, and therefore he used this ceremonial occasion to bestow the highest award of the Ministry, the Cross of Merit of the Minister of Defence 1st Grade upon the whole unit.

The Minister promised the soldiers that as a member of the Government he will do his best to ensure that the equipment, accoutrement and arsenal comply with the requirements of a 21st century army.

Even the Chief of the General Staff wears the red beret

The Chief of the General Staff General Aleš Opata praised the professional approach of each soldier of the unit, which is the foundation of the whole brigade’s success. He also reminded the time, when the unit had to face problems with insufficient accoutrement and arsenal, but even in that time they fulfilled their tasks with high engagement and professionalism.

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Picture: The ceremonial muster included a launch of the book about the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, which was ceremonially launched by the Chief of the General Staff of the ACR General Aleš Opata  | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

“As a soldier I wish you especially strength, high resistance and enthusiasm in the following years, and, as Aleš Opata I wish you good health and success,” pronounced General Aleš Opata, who used to be one of the Brigade commanders, his wishes to all Brigade’s members.

During the festive ceremony selected soldiers, who helped the brigade to its present prestige, were awarded the badge of 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade. At the same time the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the General Staff launched the book about the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, prepared by historians of the Military History Institute in cooperation with the 4th brigade and Communication Department of the Ministry of Defence.

The history of the Brigade became a part of life of its present commander

The unit was founded on 1st January 1994 and its training started on 1st June of the same year. At present the brigade has four battalions and almost 2,600 soldiers. During the 25 years of its history the brigade has been commanded by ten commanders in total. All former commanders have become generals and Jiří Šedivý and Aleš Opata successively became the Chiefs of the General Staff of the ACR with the rank of “General of the Army”.

The present, 10th, commander, Colonel of the General Staff Josef Trojánek started to command the brigade this year. His military career started with the foundation of this unit, i.e. in 1994, when he started as the deputy commander of the platoon, he went through other levels of command and ended up as Brigade Commander.

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Picture: Commander of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade Colonel of the General Staff Josef Trojánek awarded honorary badges of the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade to selected soldiers on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Brigade’s foundation | Jana Deckerová, army.cz

“I have spent my whole professional life with the Brigade. The foundation of the Rapid Deployment Brigade was a milestone in our army, and I am glad I had the chance to be a part of it. The past 25 years mean everything to me – I am satisfied by the work I do, I am proud I am a member of this unit, and at the same time I am glad I can co-operate with people, whom I have met during my professional career and I cherish them,” said the Brigade Commander Colonel of the General Staff Josef Trojánek. „To sum up – the red beret and the 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade mean everything to me.”

 Author: Jana Deckerová