President Milanović Decorates Members of 137th Croatian Army Brigade in Duga Resa

26. October 2021.

The President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović attended a ceremony in the town of Duga Resa held on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the formation of the 137th Croatian Army Brigade, at which he decorated its members. “Congratulations on your great day. I look forward to decorating those who contributed and gave their all. We will never forget your contribution,” President Milanović said in his address at the ceremony.   

The President emphasized that the awarded decorations are a debt of honour of the Croatian state, the Croatian people and all citizens to them and to everything they have done for Croatia. “Thirty years ago, Croatia was defended and that is why we call you the defenders,” the President said, recalling that Croatia was defended by a small number of people who had completed a historic mission. “Those were the days when Zadar was on the verge of collapse, Osijek was in serious danger. Those were the days when Vukovar cried out for help, but that help could not come. Those were the days of courage, pride, glory and brazenness of people who, if nothing else, wanted to help with their moral attitude,” said President Milanović. In view of this, he mentioned the Dubrovnik naval convoy, saying that even then with the Libertas convoy the people showed to the country “that we are all one and that there are deep reasons why we are that which stands above all – a nation, and without a nation there is no state such as ours. That is why Međimurje, Dubrovnik, Istria, Baranja, Duga Resa are one common thing, and this is not something that can be forced. It’s just something that grows and sprouts and happens over the years and generations. It’s something that is first felt and only then learned,” President Milanović underscored.

Speaking about the events of 1991, the President said that after the first major liberating operation on a larger historical scale, Operation Otkos, the formation of a real Croatian Army had begun. “A victorious army, a force that has no aspirations to be regional or global, but which everyone must fear and think carefully, not once, about their next step,” he pointed out. “The Croatian Army, i.e. the Croatian National Guard, would not have been able to defend Croatia then had there not been a small number of people who were familiar with the military calling,” the President added, adding that these people were reserve officers and officers who had gone through military schools and who made themselves available to Croatia as patriots from day one, from Osijek to Duga Resa and Karlovac. All in all, it is a corps of honesty and pride composed of people to whom we should say ‘thank you’. And the more time passes, decade after decade, the older they get, the sharper, the clearer the picture becomes. In the eyes of the Croatian people, the reputation of these individuals and brigades is better today than it was twenty years ago,” concluded President Milanović.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the brigade’s formation, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović presented decorations to members of the 137th Croatian Army Brigade. The Order of Duke Domagoj with Ribbon was awarded to Jure Katić for bravery and heroism displayed in the Homeland War. Mirko Luketić, Damir Trgovčić, Mladen Bilankov and Tihomir Vidović were bestowed with the Order of Nikola Šubić Zrinski for a deed of valour in the Homeland War. 

For extraordinary successful command of units of the Croatian Armed Forces and for extraordinary military services in their organization and development, the Order of Ban Jelačić was bestowed upon Dragutin Furdek, Ivo Benić, Petar Dobrinić and Stjepan Bernardić.

For extraordinary services to the Republic of Croatia in a state of war, the Order of the Croatian Trefoil was presented to Marko Brkić, Robert Lukač, Josip Sviličić, Marko Grman, Marinko Mateša, Dražen Peraković, Marko Britvec and Nikola Vidonić. The Order of the Croatian Interlace was awarded to Dražen Bošnjak, Robert Piškurić, Ivica Gojak, Blaženka Šušlje, Borislav Lončar, Miroslav Furdek, Mario Furač, Hrvoje Petanjek, Dario Lapić, Ervin Neuhold, Drago Mihalić, Milan Kovačić, Ivica Kasunić, Boris Ferkula and Franjo Ladešić for extraordinary contributions to the development and the reputation of the Republic of Croatia, as well as to the welfare of its citizens.

Speaking at the ceremony apart from President Milanović were the President of the 137th Croatian National Guard / Croatian Army Brigade Association Ivo Benić, Mayor of Duga Resa Tomislav Boljar, Deputy County Prefect of Karlovac County and envoy of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Vesna Hajsan Dolinar, and Member of the Croatian Parliament and envoy of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Maja Grba Bujević.

Prior to the ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the formation of the 137th Croatian Army Brigade, the President of the Republic and Commander in Chief of the Croatian Armed Forces laid a wreath at the memorial to the 137th Brigade of the Croatian National Guard / Croatian Army in memory of the fallen, deceased and missing defenders of Croatia. Special Adviser to the President of the Republic for Homeland War Veterans Marijan Mareković was alongside President Milanović in Duga Resa.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Ana Marija Katić