On September 27, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania held the meeting of the first class of graduates and Bachelor graduates on the occasion of their 25th and 20th graduation anniversaries, respectively.
The commemoration was honoured by the presence of Commandant Colonel Juozas Kačergius, first commandant Major General (Ret.) Jonas Andriškevičius, former commandants Colonel (Ret.) Algimantas Vyšniauskas and Colonel (Ret.) Arūnas Balčiūnas and other chiefs, commanders, lecturers and academic staff of that period. All the gathered observed a moment of silence for the dead colleagues and the cadets laid flowers at the memorial stone for 1st Lt Normundas Valteris, a graduate of the Class 1.
In his speech dedicated to several generations of graduates, Commandant Colonel Kačergius said: “During the period of 25 years, the Military Academy of Lithuania has been continuously growing and developing not only in the number of cadets and graduates but the quality as well. Consequently, now we have master and doctoral graduates. Quite possibly, the first commandant would have never dreamt that our teaching resources would expand as much. Today we can offer you a possibility to see yourself how cadets live and study.”
Former Commandant Major General (Ret.) Andriškevičius presented his research study on the period from the National Defence School to the Military Academy of Lithuania from 1992 to 1994. He said: “It is such a delight that our first cadets mark the history. Some of the related historical facts are documented in my study in the context of the courses and studies, issues and challenges we met at that time. I am glad that we have overcome that. It is nice to see all of you here and wish you more reunions in the future.”
To recall their studies, the guests went on an excursion to the Academy and reviewed their military career in presentations at the Officers’ Club. The former commanders who were not able to attend the commemoration sent video greetings, thus showing respect to the past. By thanking their commanders, the graduates highlighted that the Academy gave them the sense of unity as a family and insistence on goals. “Thank you for the knowledge you gave us, the discipline you enforced and the training that made us leaders and commanders”, said Lieutenant Colonel Arnas Mikaila, a graduate of the Bachelor Class 1.
The graduates awarded commemorative badges and flowers to the commandants, commanders and lecturers of the first classes, while the cadets’ patriotic rock band Vytis gave a live performance.
The history of the Class 1
- 13 July 1992 Establishment of the National Defence School by the order of the Minister of National Defence. The School had 154 students making 2 cadet companies. The cadets could choose a two-year Motorized Riflemen or State Border Guard Service study programme.
- 20 July 1994 Graduation of the first class of officers. 111 graduates were commissioned as Second Lieutenants.
- 18 January 1994 The National Defence School reorganized to the Military Academy of Lithuania, a higher education institution, by the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
- The Academy trained army officers and border guard police officers. The studies were organized in two cycles. Having completed the first cycle (2 years), cadets acquired platoon commander qualification, they were commissioned and received their first postings as company commanders at the military units. The second cycle accepted officers with at least one year of service experience. Upon the completion, officers received military Bachelor’s degree.
- The first class of bachelor studies graduates finished the Military Academy of Lithuania in 1999.
Photo credit: G. Maksimovicz and Ž. Kosteckytė