|Structure » National Defence Volunteer Forces » NDVF History|
By the end of 1991 all units of the National Defence System were formed on a voluntary basis.
On 11 January 1991 several hundreds of the Parliament defenders took an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Lithuania and with support from the public began preparing for a possible attack against the Supreme Council building (presently the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania). Other volunteers joined units to protect facilities of the Press Palace, Radio and Television Tower, and other strategic assets when the Soviet Union was attempting to overthrow legal authorities of Lithuania and reintroduce an occupational regime in January 1991.
On 17 January 1991 the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania passed the law on the National Defence Volunteer Service, which became the basis for the establishment of the then Voluntary National Defence Service, VNDS.
Publication of The Volunteer, a newspaper for the Volunteer Forces, was started in 1991 and is still being produced today.
In March 1991 the VNDS staff, an operational platoon, the VNDS Training Centre were formed as well as 200 company size units were organised into eight territorial defence regions. In accordance with an order issued by Director General of Department of National Defence, Colonel Jonas Gečas was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Voluntary National Defence Service.
During a coup-d`etat of August 1991, volunteer serviceman Artūras Sakalauskas lost his life in the line of duty when defending the Lithuanian Supreme Council on 21 August.
Once the coup-d`etat was defeated, NDVS units received an order to block the Soviet forces in order to prevent them from bringing replacement troops from Russia into Lithuania. At that time forty-four guard posts were installed where 201 NDVS members would simultaneously stand on duty. At the end of 1991, the Volunteer Forces embarked upon the protection of national strategic assets.
Volunteer units provided support to civilian authorities in the event of natural or industrial disasters. In the summer of 1992, thousands of volunteers assisted in fighting fires in wooded areas and peat lands; they participated in cleaning hazardous spill on the Nemunas River subsequent to an ecological disaster in Belarus. They also took part in relief activities during the flood of the Nemunas River in the Western part of Lithuania. In 1993, during a visit of Pope John Paul II to Lithuania, thousands of volunteers helped the police maintain public order.
The Volunteer units took part in the first military exercises organised by the Lithuanian Armed Forces including the first joint military exercises Safeguard '93, Wind of Spring (1997 - 1998), Baltic Challenge (1998), Amber Hope series.
As of 1994 members of the Volunteer Forces have been attending international peacekeeping missions.
In 1998 the Voluntary National Defence Service (SKAT in Lithuanian) was reorganised as the National Defence Volunteer Forces, KASP - in Lithuanian) and became an integral part of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Since 2004 the Lithuanian Grand Duke Butigeidis Dragoon Battalion has been assigned to the Volunteer Forces.
On 1 July 2005 the 9th Territorial Unit of the Kęstutis Military District of the Volunteer Force was restructured. The force units and members have been place under subordination of the 3rd Territorial Unit of the Žemaičiai military District and the 2nd Territorial Unit of Darius and Girėnas Military District.
On 1 September 2005 the 4th Territorial Unit of Tauras Military District was restructured. The force units and member have been placed under subordination of the 1st Territorial Unit of Dainava Military District and the 2nd Territorial Unit of Darius and Girėnas Military District.
First units formed on the basis of Lithuanian volunteer military were sent to international operations in the Balkan region in 2004. Nine NDVF platoons have already been sent to the mission as part of KFOR, and the tenth shift KFOR-19 is deployed at the moment.
The tenth Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT-10) was deployed to Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from the November 2009 till June 2010. The team was mainly formed from the soldiers from the 1st Territorial Unit of Dainava Military District of the National Defence Volunteer Force.
From 2011 to 2012 PRT-14 formed from soldiers from 5th Territorial Unit of Vytis Military District of NDVF was deployed in Afghanistan Ghowr province.
In 2011 NDVF were reinforced with 6th Territorial Unit of Prisikėlimo Military District in Šiauliai.
In 2016 NDVF soldiers participated in Military training operation in Ukraine.