On 25 January 2019, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania (MAL) commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Military School and held the Flag Handover Ceremony to mark the appointment of the new commandant Colonel Juozas Kačergius. Following the traditions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the flag of the MAL was handed over to Colonel Kačergius by Raimundas Karoblis, Minister of National Defence.
The MAL continues the traditions and mission of the military school established on 25 January 1919 in Kaunas. It educates and trains well-rounded, critically-thinking and self-sufficient officers by integrating university and military studies.
“The Academy carries out an exclusive mission to train future leaders. As the Lithuanian Armed Forces currently undergo essential qualitative modernization and development, the demand for highly-qualified officers will rise,” said Minister Karoblis. “I give the new Commandant a task to increase the intellectual and creative potential of the Academy community and become a major center for military and defence sciences”.
Reviewing the centenary history of the military school, Colonel Kačergius highlighted education that involved not only military training: “The military school put great emphasis on science, development of personal qualities as well as military and patriotic values. I believe that it helps our country to ensure and preserve the independence allowing every citizen to make personal contribution to our freedom”, said the Commandant. “Although time makes changes, the cherished values, aims and challenges of the Interwar period have remained. Today, the Academy trains highly-qualified leaders, fosters patriotism and teaches to be role models and responsible commanders capable of making decisions independently”.
The ceremony was honoured by the presence of the authorities of the Ministry of National Defence, Lithuanian Armed Forces, former commandants, university rectors and representatives of foreign countries. Three cannon salvos were fired to salute Lithuania, Lithuanian Armed Forces and General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania. Musical performances were given by cadets and the Big Band of the National Defence Volunteer Forces.
In his report The Role of the Military School in the Consolidation of the State on officer training one hundred years ago, historian Prof. Habil. Dr. Alfonsas Eidintas emphasized that the military school was the first to start professional junior officer training in the Lithuanian history. The school was significant particularly due to its educative and patriotic roles. According to the military historian, despite the decades of occupation, freedom fighters, insurgents, partisans, graduates of the military school, present-day cadets of the MAL and servicemen have always been united by military traditions, flags, national symbols, oath ceremony, military ideals and deep sense of duty to defend Lithuania.
Flag Handover Ceremony
Photo credit: Alfredas Pliadis
The 100th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Military School
Photo credit: MAL