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They Returned Home

2018. október 3. 17:31

“I am proud of you, as it has once again been proved that the Hungarian peacekeepers perform their work with discipline, on good professional level and in excellent co-operation with the soldiers of other countries.” The homecoming members of the 43rd rotation of the Hungarian Contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP-HUNCON) were welcomed with these words by Major General Zoltán Mihócza, the acting Commander of the HDF Joint Force Command (HDF JFC), on Wednesday, 3rd October, in Székesfehérvár.

The Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) have been participating in the modern age peace-keeping since 1993. Under the leadership of nineteen Contingent Commanders more than two thousand Hungarian soldiers and policemen took part in peacekeeping, but this period has now been closed. The Hungarian Contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP-HUNCON) finished its service after 23 years, on 31st of August, 2018, in the island-country.

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The peacekeepers of the 43rd rotation began their work in Cyprus in March, 2018, collaborating with the troops of the Serbian Army. In their homecoming ceremony they were welcomed in the presence of their family members, friends and colleagues in Székesfehérvár. In the main square of one of the oldest Hungarian military towns, Major General Zoltán Mihócza, in his welcome speech underlined that the Serbian and Hungarian soldiers lining up in front of them did their best, all they were required, and everything they could do for the peace and security of the region. The acting Commander of the HDF JFC emphasized that serving twenty-three years as a member of such a diverse, many nations uniting “formation", struggling for a common goal, will leave an eternal mark in everybody, who was and could ever be part of this mission. “I am confident that the human and professional relations developed here, the acquired experiences and the professional knowledge will be of immeasurable value both for the individual and for the entirety of our armed forces also in the future" – the superior pointed out.

At the end of his speech he spoke to the relatives of the soldiers returning from mission: “I know that behind every soldier there is a family, friends, colleagues and through them the whole Hungarian society. We, together, jointly assumed the responsibility for preserving and consolidating peace all over the world. As part of this process, each of you contributed to this noble but very hard mission" – the Major General expressed his thankfulness.

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On the occasion of the end of the mission abroad, Major General Zoltán Mihócza, Brigadier General Aleksandar Bjelic, Chief of the Serbian Air Force Command and Dr. András Cser-Palkovics, the Mayor of Székesfehérvár County Town bestowed recognitions to the Hungarian and Serbian soldiers for their outstanding performance in the personnel of the Hungarian Contingent of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP-HUNCON). Tokens of appreciations were conferred to Lieutenant Colonel Tamás Zsolnay, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. László Ujházy, Lieutenant Dr. Attila Antal Elliott, Ensign Szilvia Mónika Hauck and PFC László Szabó for their excellent work.

On behalf of the Székesfehérvár soldiers, who had served in Cyprus, Lieutenant Colonel Ferenc Kozula, the Commander of the Contingent handed over the symbols of the mission to the Mayor of Székesfehérvár, thanking that the town hosted the event. The colours of the Contingent was donated to the Pákozd Military Memorial Park so that the heritage of Cyprus of the Hungarian soldiers would live on at the banks of the Lake Velence among the Pákozd Hills.

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The homecoming ceremony of the soldiers returning home from Cyprus, where the representatives of the units stationing in the garrison and the Contingent Commanders of the earlier rotations participated, was graced among others with the attendance of the President of the Fejér County Assembly Dr. Krisztián Molnár, and the Bishop of the Székesfehérvár Diocese Antal Spányi took part.

The solemn march and the official hymn of the United Nations was accompanied by the orchestra of the Fricsay Richárd-Prize winner HDF 43rd “Nagysándor József" Signal and Command Support Regiment conducted by Major Tamás Ruff.

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Photos of the author