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Historic day in officer training

Szöveg: Ádám Draveczki-Ury |  2011. február 2. 18:06

On Tuesday, February 1 in the morning hours, the Ludovika Battalion of the Hungarian Defence Forces was directly subordinated to the Chief of Defence at a ceremony. Defence Minister Dr. Csaba Hende and Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő, Chief, MoD Defence Staff were present and delivered speeches at the formation ceremony of the battalion of officer cadets.

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The HDF Ludovika Battalion has been constituted on the basis of a cadet organization and became a unit of the Hungarian Defence Forces on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, in Budapest. Officeholders of the Ministry of Defence and the leadership of the Hungarian Defence Forces were also present at the formal transfer of authority ceremony held at the Hungária Street campus of Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University. Following the parade of historical flags and the national anthem, the invitees could see a documentary about the history of the Ludovika Battalion, after which Dr. Csaba Hende, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Hungary delivered a ceremonial address.

„For the homeland unto death! Today we are setting out on this old-new road again, starting with this sentence. This sentence sums up everything you are undertaking to do," said Csaba Hende. "You have chosen the more difficult way: to master the military profession in the Ludovika Battalion. First of all I would like to thank you and express my appreciation for this decision. We need highly trained officers who have fully mastered their profession", pointed out the Minister.

For the homeland unto death!

“You have devoted your lives to a great cause: for the homeland unto death. This profession takes a man and requires total devotion. It forces you to endure physical and mental exhaustion and suffering and to face danger, while it demands that you spend the most important moments of your life in the service. For this reason, it is worthy and just that the nation should appreciate the sacrifice you make; you deserve our respect," emphasized Csaba Hende, adding that the duties of officer cadets cannot be expressed in money. “The state has to utilize its soldiers’ great values in a sensible way. This is why we are rebuilding the entire system of national defence. The renewal of officer training is a highly important stage in this process," pointed out the Minister, adding that by mid-March, the oft-mentioned career path model will be drawn up and its introduction is scheduled for January 2012.

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Csaba Hende underlined that the security challenges our country has to face may change in a couple of decades or years, or even in a few months or hours, and referred to the current events in North Africa. “Nevertheless, the things you learn here in the Ludovika Battalion, the experiences you share and the inspiration you get will never slip into the background. We expect the Ludovika Battalion to inculcate you with the mentality and spirit – a sense of responsibility and duty, camaraderie and initiative – that should characterize any officer. Once this has been achieved, you will be able to take up any challenge," said the Defence Minister.

The Minister recalled that the Ludovika was the alma mater of those Hungarian officers who had fought on the battlefields of the 19th and 20th centuries to defend the nation. “They were loyal to the flag, to the cause of Hungarian freedom, to the spirit and letter of the Hungarian constitution of the age. They fought their wars – the bloodiest ones Hungarian soldiers have ever fought –, led their men, and did everything they were tasked to do according to the rules of the military profession." The Minister pointed out that these officers had delivered a professional performance on the battlefield and continued to do so after the Communist dictatorship dismissed them from service and forced them to live on the periphery. “They have given us an example of how to perform our duty, an example of courage, and a sense of responsibility and camaraderie – everything we sum up in the word “service". They were loyal to their oath and lived and died with honor, thereby earning reputation for the title “Ludovika officer’", said Csaba Hende, who also greeted the former Ludovika cadets present at the ceremony.

Dreams may come true

The minister reminded the guests that in 2009, the cadet battalion unanimously chose the name Ludovika by voting, and on August 20, 2010, the whole country had been watching the commissioning ceremony of young officers in Heroes’ Square, who revived the historic traditions by drawing their swords while repeating the motto “For the homeland unto death!" “The name of the Ludovika Battalion is binding. If you fail to raise this name again with your exemplary service, it will be of no use to you. You should discover and revive this tradition in a proper form that is needed in the service of the homeland in your days. You should be worthy of it by living according to these virtues," Csaba Hende told the officer cadets. "Be worthy of those who are serving in the Hungarian Defence Forces: those who were loyal to their oath and the officers’ honor in times when many people around them failed to do so. Be worthy of those who are performing their duty under arms, facing the enemy even in these hours, of those who, after many years’ decline, will get the Hungarian Defence Forces back on track in the coming years and rebuild them so they can meet the standards that are necessary for performing their function to full extent," said the Minister, adding that he would also focus all his efforts on achieving this goal.

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“I firmly believe that your dreams of the service may come true, the dreams of a profession for a lifetime which can give your purpose in life. Serve with honor!"  Csaba Hende asked the cadets.

“I firmly believe that your dreams may come true of a community for a lifetime kept together by this service. Your dreams may come true of those friends with whom, beyond sharing a classroom, you will tread the training areas and all the paths wherever the defence of the country leads you. Be good comrades to each other!"
“I firmly believe that your dreams of a successful career may come true. The stars sparkling on your epaulettes – when you receive them – will have a meaning and content: they will symbolize performance and achievement, humanity and excellence. Be worthy of them even at this stage!" the Minister addressed the officer cadets. “Your dreams will come true if you are committed to walk down your path and learn what you have to learn: tactics and strategy, weapon handling and languages, and most importantly, how to take care of the men under you and how to lead them. If you are as humble, precise, hard-working and honest in performing your duties as your profession requires you to be, all your dreams will come true."

“Officer cadets! The nation asks you for your service, as you have chosen this path. Soon you will be carrying the Hungarian Defence Forces on your shoulders, and with them, the cause of national defence. Prepare for this task with honor. Prepare for reviving the old motto of Ludovika cadets: For the homeland unto death!" – this was how Csaba Hende concluded his speech.

A historic moment in officer training

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Following the Minister’s speech, the Chief of Defence addressed the cadets and the guests. “This is a historic moment in officer training," Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő started his speech. “I am proud that officer cadets will serve under the Chief of Defence in a single battalion. But pride also means that officers and officer cadets have obligations as well. It depends on us alone how we will go down in history", the general pointed out, asking everyone to work loyally, in compliance with the regulations. “For the homeland unto death – these words tell us all. Everything depends on persistence, courage, determination and commitment," said Gen. Tibor Benkő, emphasizing that for soldiers, the interests of the homeland and the nation have priority over individual interests under all circumstances. The general asked the officer cadets to perform their duties and pursue their studies honorably and conscientiously in a disciplined way, underlining that they should demand the same from their subordinates in the future. “While doing so, always treat them humanely", said the general, who also wished the cadets success, strength and good health. “Soldiering is a vocation and a mission for a lifetime: For the homeland unto death!" – this was how the Chief of Defence concluded his speech.

Gen. Tibor Benkő handed over the founding charter of the unit to LTC Zsolt Molnár, Commander, HDF Ludovika Battalion. After the tunes of the Ludovika march, LTC Molnár delivered a speech. He said the formation of the battalion was a great opportunity and a huge task at the same time, and that he would like to take this opportunity. “My commanding principles have not changed: discipline, respect, humility. Internal and external discipline is one of the main characteristics of a soldier. This involves respect for your superiors, for seniority, experience and knowledge as well as humility concerning the profession, the homeland, and past times," LTC Molnár summed up his credo.

LTC Zsolt Molnár thanked the families and relatives of military officer cadets for helping their children in choosing the military profession and providing them with a proper background, without which no soldier can be successful. "We can never make up for the family, but a unit can be welded into a team that almost resembles a family. Be proud and behave accordingly! The name “Ludovika" binds all of us. For the homeland unto death!" – said the lieutenant-colonel.
Following the ceremony, which ended with the sounds of the Szózat (second national anthem), the Defence Minister held a gala dinner for the officer cadets and the invited guests.

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Photo: László Tóth

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