United States Army General Martin Dempsey, who is the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was awarded the Order of Duke Trpimir with Neck Badge and Morning Star (Red kneza Trpimira s ogrlicom i Danicom) in Zagreb on Monday 22 September 2014
The Order of Duke Trpimir ranks fifth in the Croatian order of precedence after the Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir. It is awarded to Croatian and foreign ministerial level officials and others for merit in contributing to the independence, integrity and international reputation of Croatia, the construction of Croatia, and development of relationships between Croatia and other countries.
“This is an order which Croatia awards only to true friends,” said Croatia’s Minister of Defence Ante Kotromanovic during the award presentation ceremony. Furthermore, Kotromanovic reminded all of the enormous part played by the USA at the beginning of 1990’s, during the actions of liberating Croatia from its occupiers, but also later as Croatia moved closer to NATO and the European Union.
General Dempsey appreciated Minister Kotromanovic for awarding him the distinctive Croatian decoration , which he viewed as recognition to the numerous American soldiers who served in international missions worldwide side-by-side with the Croatians as well. “Croatia has grown into a strong and reliable partner and a solid platform for the rest of the region. I wish to see the partnership continued and enhanced,” Dempsey said and spoke of his wish for the USA and Croatian partnership to grow even more stronger than what it has.
In this sense, US State Department’s recent public announcement in which Croatia is listed, among more than fifty other countries, as a member of the coalition which has as its goal oppose ISIL that controls significant parts of Syria and Iraq.
“Nobody knows yet what our responsibilities will be but this is an opportunity for the whole world to unite against that perilous evil,” said Croatia’s minister Kotromanovic regarding ISIL.
In the afternoon, after being received by Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, Dempsey was present at the delivery of several army vehicles which the US government has donated to Croatia: 212 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP), comprising 162 combat vehicles M-ATV, 20 MRAP HAGA (heavily armed ground ambulance) vehicles and 30 MaxxPro MRAP vehicles to the Republic of Croatia.
The donated MRAP vehicles will be distributed to the Croatian Army, Support Command and the Special Operations Battalion units, to replace the formerly used TAM vehicles.
General Martin Dempsey has not contributed to Croatian independence when it was fought for but Croatia did have strong US support in its eventually successful endeavours to free its occupied territories from Serb aggressor. I tend to see this important Medal or order bestowed upon General Dempsey as a reflection of post-war efforts to further and assist where possible the development of and strengthening of Croatia’s position internationally – in all walks of life that are worthwhile walking for the betterment of friendships and humanity – I believe.
But it does concern me as a matter of Croatian democratic processes or informing the public that Croats did not hear from their President or Minister for defence that Croatia is a member of the international coalition against the Islamic State. Croatian Public heard this via televised news State Department public statement! And while the Croatian public is asking itself why it was that they were faced with finding out about this in a roundabout way rather than from their own country, the jihadists are calling upon their supporters to kill citizens of every country that is a member of the coalition. I wonder if Croatia will re-assess the risks from the jihadists in its midst or neighbourhood after such calls to murder? I hope so! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)