Army chemists celebrate 100th Anniversary of its foundation
The 100 Years of Gas Service and Chemist Army Exhibition was commenced on Thursday 19th September in front of the General Staff building. General public, thus, can look inside the history of the military units which belonged to the absolute army top.
Vice-Chairmen of the Parliament Committee for Defence Radovan Vích and Jan Lipavský, former Chiefs of the General Staff Jiří Šedivý and Pavel Štefka, Chief of the Chemical Corps of the Czech Army Colonel of the General Staff Martin Fokt, Chief of the Chemical Corps of the Slovak Armed Forces Miroslav Ofčarovič, as well as veterans, took part in the commencement of the exhibition. An inaugural speech was introduced by First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army Lieutenant-General Jaromír Zůna.
He mentioned in the prologue of its speech that the base of the Chemical Corps was founded in September 1919, when the Department for Gas Service was founded as reaction for the use of combat gases in World War I. It was a sophisticated weapon which required qualified personnel even at the time. Units of the Chemical Corps eventually appeared to be more important for the defence against these weapons than for their servicing. The proper Chemical Corps was founded in 1949.
“Very possessed people have been acting here since the beginning. They had to overcome the fact that the so-called Gas Service didn’t fall into the that-time army conception. Their successors continued it after the war. After the collapse of the totality regime, there was one of the lightest moments of the Czech Chemist Corps, i.e. Persian Gulf War. Throughout the time of its existence, the Chemist Corps required high interconnectivity between the army, industry, science and military education system. Its successes and quality are a reflection of this interconnectivity. The army chemists are characterized by huge possession and high professionalism – thanks to these qualities, the corps held up all political changes, came through new tests which waited for them in deserts of Kuwait and Iraq, in mountains of Afghanistan and former Yugoslavia,” said Lieutenant-General Zůna.
Liberec continues the Prague event
After that, he – together with one of the authors of the exhibition, Zdeněk Polčák, who is an employee of the Military Historic Institute, and former Chief of the Chemist Corps Major-General Miroslav Budský – inaugurated the exhibition by cutting the ribbon. The exposition consists of large-area boards, which capture mosaically separate phases of the history of army chemists. Considerable part is devoted to the early phases, such as Battle of Ypres, where German units in April 1915 used Chlorine as a weapon, and which is considered as the start point of chemical military units. Staying in front of the boards, you can see selected equipment which is used by our chemical units nowadays.
The exhibition in front of the General Staff of the Czech Army is also continued by events in Liberec. Inaugural entrance of the 31st Regiment of radiating, chemical and biological protection will pass on Friday on the Dr. E. Beneš square, where later on Saturday the event is to be continued by an open day of the regiment. You can see – just like in Prague – for example, the LR 130 RCH radiation a chemical survey vehicle, the S-LOV CBRN radiation, chemical and biological survey vehicle on an Iveco chassis, or the VAP-1M KIT calculation-analytical work-station. Together with the equipment, the chemists are going to present their armament and equipage to the general public.