Lithuanian Armed Forces
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History

Jonas Misiunas - Green Devil was born in 1911 in the village of Valmoniai (district of Panevezys). In 1931 he joined armed forces. After compulsory military service chose reenlistee service, gained military rank of master sergeant. Served in Vievis and Kaisiadorys. During German occupation worked in Kaisiadorys as a railway station security officer. On February 5, 1944 joined Lithuanian Territorial Defense Force, served until it was disbanded. In July 1944, when Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, moved with his family to the village of Janoniai (rural district of Musninkai, district of Ukmerge). Organized a group of guerrilla fighters, which by the end of July included 200 souls (operated in districts of Ukmerge and Trakai). In September this group was given a name of Great Battle Special Team. It is a historic fact that Jonas Misiunas and his group used to move from one rural district to another misleading the enemy and recruiting new fighters at the same time. Every member of this group fought bravely with the enemy, did his best trying to destroy as many Soviet authorities and activists as possible. On January 15, 1945 after meeting with Mykolas Kareckas - Currant (representative of the Lithuanian Freedom Army Vilnius Command headquarters) Jonas Misiunas reorganized the Great Battle Special Team into the 5th Region of the Lithuanian Freedom Army. On February 15, 1945 Mykolas Kareckas was put in charge of this newly established territorial unit. Jonas Misiunas became his deputy, commander of the 5th Region headquarters and leader of the operational section. Headquarters of this unit were established in Ciobiskis children's home (rural district of Musninkai). In February 1945 the 5th Region was renamed into the 5th Command of the Lithuanian Freedom Army. After Mykolas Kareckas was killed on April 14, 1945 Jonas Misiunas was put in charge of this unit. On December 1, 1945 the 5th Command of the Lithuanian Freedom Army was renamed into the Great Battle Command. Two subordinate territorial units were established - A" (district of Trakai) and B" (district of Ukmerge). Jonas Misiunas was clever and strict, never floundered. He was two meters tall, physically very strong. Also he took care of his fighters and local civilians' education. In the period of 1944-1946 the Great Battle Command unofficially published newspapers „Actual path", „Green forest" and „Independent Lithuania". But like in case of other guerrilla leaders „Green devil‘s" fate was determined by an act of betrayal and numerous provocations of soviet representatives.

 

On January 17, 1991 the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania (presently the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania) passed the law on the National Defense Volunteer Service (Nr. 1-958), which became the basis for the establishment of the then Voluntary National Defense Service, VNDS. This step may be called a formal background for the VNDS Vilnius Territorial Unit be found. The Vilnius Territorial Unit was officially established on March 1, 1991. It was the day when few citizens for the first time gained status of soldiers of this Unit. The list included Commander of the Unit Romualdas Katinas, Jurgis Dapsys, Valentinas Gursnys, Vaclovas Juknevicius, Arturas Majauskas, Antanas Aleksandravicius, Rimantas Benesevicius, Darius Uzkuraitis, Gintautas Akelis, Antanas Kanapienis, Rima Keruliene, Juozas Adomas Zaramba, Valdas Vitas, Dalius Tolutis, Tomas Gintila, Remigijus Jukna, Raimundas Sokolovas, Nerijus Brazenas.

 

Starting with the year 1991 soldiers of this Unit were trained inside the Unit, in the Commander Training Center of the VNDS, Vytautas Bulvycius Training Center, Jonas Zemaitis Military Academy and in several training centers and military academies abroad. By the end of 1991 one could count 51 staff soldier and 1261 volunteer serviceman serving in the Vilnius Territorial Unit. At the moment in the Unit (presently the National Defense Volunteer Force 8th Territorial Unit Didžioji Kova Military District) serve over 60 staff soldiers and about 1000 volunteer servicemen.

 

Commanders of the National Defense Volunteer Force 8th Territorial Unit Didžioji Kova Military District:

 

March 1, 1991 through June 7, 1994 - Maj Romualdas Katinas

June 7, 1994 through 31, 1995 - 1st Lt Gintautas Zenkevicius (currently Brig Gen)

September 1, 1995 through June 20, 2000 - Lt Col Arunas Dudavicius (currently Col)

June 20, 2000 through May 13, 2003 - Lt Col Vytautas Cepukas (currently Lt Col, retired)

July 26, 2003 through July 19, 2004 - Maj Vaidotas Malinionis (currently Lt Col)

July 19, 2004 through June 16, 2006 - Lt Col Leonas Stonkus (currently Lt Col, retired)

June 19, 2006 up to date - Lt Col Gediminas Macijauskas

 

Volunteer servicemen of the Vilnius Territorial Unit did their best in getting ready for defense of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania and defending facilities of the Vilnius TV Tower, executed other varying tasks, given by the executive institutions of our homeland: during the period of 1991-1992 guarded strategic assets, in 1991 through 1993 blocked Russian military units, stationed in Vilnius district.

 

  

 

In 1993 during the visit of Pope John Paul II to Lithuania volunteer servicemen were given additional tasks.

The main task of the Vilnius Territorial Unit was to get ready for and if necessary execute territorial defense and suppressive actions within the given territory. This is why military training of volunteer servicemen mainly focused on tactics, weapons, military engineering, communications, medicine, etc. In May, 1993 through July, 2003 the Unit also carried out administrative functions of recruitment into the Lithuanian army and military mobilization.

 

  

 

In 1996 the Vilnius Territorial Unit had 2 battalions (each consisting of 3 companies), stationed in Vilnius, 1 battalion (consisting of 4 companies), stationed in Trakai and separate companies in Ukmerge, Sirvintos, Svencionys, Svencioneliai and Salcininkai.

 

On January 15, 1999 Minister of National Defense Ceslovas Stankevicius renamed the NDVF Vilnius Territorial Unit giving it the historic name of NDVF 8th Territorial Unit Didžioji Kova Military District.

 

In the summer of 2003 volunteer servicemen of the 84th battalion, stationed in Trakai, assisted firemen and representatives of other services in saving people after explosion in the joint stock company Ukmerges gelzbetonis".

 

In 2003 volunteer servicemen of the 8th Territorial Unit took part in the exercise „Amber Hope 2003". Presently international training and exercises such as „Amber Hope", „Cooperative Best Effort", „Baltic Fox", etc. can be called a regular occurrence in which volunteer servicemen of this Unit take part constantly.

 

In 2004, after Lithuania joined NATO, the NDVF abandoned the doctrine of territorial defense and shifted to the development of capabilities necessary for the collective defense. As it fallows the 8th Territorial Unit started getting ready for new tasks - taking part in peacekeeping operations, providing support to civilian population in events of emergency in Lithuania, etc.

 

In 2005 staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of this Territorial Unit took part in the commemoration of the Flag Day on Gediminas Hill in Vilnius, ceremony of transfer of Vilnius airport security functions to the 2nd Regiment of Internal Service at the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania and other public holiday events, provided support to the deaf camp of the public enterprise Vilnius Rehabilitation Centre of the Deaf" Silent Tale", participated in the Christmas event in the children's homes of Trakai and Lentvaris, arranged a leaving ceremony for the platoon KFOR-12, took part in the exercise „Cooperative best effort" in Ukraine, performed other entrusted functions.

 

  

In 2006 staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of the 8th Territorial Unit took part in the exercise „Baltic Spirit 2006" in Klaipeda and „Marple Arch 2006" in Rukla, participated in the Armed Forces and Society festival, paid numerous visits to the children's homes, situated in Vilnius district, performed other entrusted functions. Platoon KFOR-15, comprised of soldiers serving in 8th Territorial Unit, left for a peacekeeping mission in the Serbian province of Kosovo, etc.

 

In 2007 headquarters of the 8th Territorial Unit moved from Didlaukio str. 69 B, Vilnius to Kapsu str. 44, Vilnius. The same year Unit arranged the 17th annual sports games of the NDVF. Event took place in Utena, was attended by staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of all military units, subordinate to the NDVF.

 

In 2008 headquarters of the Unit moved from Kapsu str. 44, Vilnius to Kairiukscio str. 14, Vilnius (territory of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas Staff Battalion). During the Vilnius Meeting of NATO Defense Ministers staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen performed additional entrusted functions.

 

On January 1, 2008 staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of the 8th Territorial Unit took part in the commemoration of the Flag Day on Gediminas Hill in Vilnius. On January 13, 2008 soldiers of this Unit took part in the commemoration of the Lithuanian Freedom Defenders Day.

 

On January 17, 2008 a commemoration of 17th anniversary of the NDVF was held. Events took place in Vilnius and Kaunas. Swords of standard-bearers, representing all Territorial Units of the NDVF, were deposited to the Vilnius Officer Club of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

On February 16, 2008 soldiers of the 8th Territorial Unit took part in events, dedicated to the Restoration of Independence Day. On March 6, 2008 a commemoration of 17th anniversary of the 8th Territorial Unit was held. Event took place in the Kaunas Officer Club of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

 

On April 1, 2008 a leaving ceremony for the platoon KFOR-18 was arranged. This platoon was comprised of staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen, serving in the NDVF 8th Territorial Unit. It was 9th platoon, comprised of soldiers, serving in the NDVF. The event was attended by the Minister of National Defense Juozas Olekas, Commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces Brigadier General Jonas Vytautas Zukas, Commander of the NDVF Colonel Antanas Plieskis, Commanders of the NDVF Territorial Units, family member of leaving soldiers.

 

 

On April 25 through 26, 2008 the final stage of history quiz „What Do You Know about the Lithuanian Armed Forces?" took place in Rukla.

On May 10, 2008 over a hundred oaks were planted. This action was taken in order to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Lithuanian Armed Forces. The new wood will grow in the historic place of the Battle of Pabaiskas near the town of Pabaiskas (district of Ukmerge). The battle, which took place near Pabaiskas on September 1, 1435, was one of the largest battles in the current territory of Lithuania. Contemporaries compare this historic victory with Lithuanian victory in the Battle of Grunwald. In order to honor this important historic event, soldiers of each unit of Lithuanian Armed Forces, including the NDVF 8th Territorial Unit, planted an oak in this new oak-wood. Staff soldiers of the Unit did even more. In order to commemorate the great victory and perpetuate memento of soldiers of duke Zygimantas, which were killed that day, staff of the Unit headquarters planted an avenue of copper beech trees.

 

On May 17, 2008 staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of the Unit took part in the Armed Forces and Society festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On September 5 through 7, 2008 soldiers of the 8th Territorial Unit and officers of the State Border Guard Service at the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania took part in a bipartite training. The training found place in Ignalina district. The main aims of current exercise were to gain practical skills, learn to respond rapidly to emergency situations at the border of our country, to improve interaction between different units, etc. This training was attended by Commander of the NDVF Col Antanas Plieskis, Commander of the State border Guard Service Ignalina Territorial Unit Col Vladimiras Scajevas, Commander of the 8th Territorial Unit Lt Col Gediminas Macijauskas and his deputy Maj Stasys Zegunis.

In the period of September 9 through 20, 2008 staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of the 8th Territorial Unit took part in the exercise „Baltic spirit 2008". During this exercise part of soldiers performed various functions of logistical support. This international training took place in Telsiai.

For a couple of year soldiers of the 8th Territorial Unit take part in Siluva feast day. This annual event is arranged on September 9.

On October 17, 2008 the 8th Territorial Unit arranged the meeting ceremony for the platoon KFOR-18. Soldiers were met by members of their families, who came from Kupiskis, Vilnius, Varena, Utena, Salcininkai, Anyksciai, Ignalina, Kedainiai, Visaginas and Vievis. Though earlier they left for a peacekeeping mission in the Serbian province of Kosovo, soldiers returned home from the independent Republic of Kosovo. In October platoon was replaced by KFOR-19, comprised of soldiers serving in the 2nd Territorial Unit Darius and Girenas Military District of the NDVF.

In October, 2008 the 8th Territorial Unit passed domain with buildings and infrastructure known as a former „Olandai military base" (Olandu str. 21 A, Vilnius) to the War and Technical Department of the Military Museum of Vytautas the Great.

Annually on the 2 of November staff soldiers and volunteer servicemen of the Unit take part in the commemoration of the All Soul's Day. This day they take care of abandoned pre-war graves, graves of Lithuanian partisans (in districts of Vilnius and Utena), settle the environment, put some flowers, light up candles, etc.

On November 23, 2008 soldiers of the 8th Territorial Unit participated in the commemoration of 90th Anniversary of Lithuanian Armed Forces. Two joint platoons took part in events, planed for this occasion. On December 9, 2008 soldiers of the Unit participated in the ceremony of change of the Ministers of National Defense. One joint platoon took part in events, planed for this occasion.

Soldiers of the 8th Territorial Unit also take active part in events, aimed to support poor and helpless citizens of Lithuania, free blood donation, etc.

According to the Commander of the 8th Territorial Unit Lieutenant Colonel Gediminas Macijauskas, year 2009 was a period set for development of military tasks and projects of public relations. The main task set for this period was to improve defense of our homeland. On the other hand such tasks as taking part in peacekeeping operations may be called complementary. But these were not less important. This is why it is great that volunteer servicemen were not and still aren't banned from participating in the peacekeeping missions. The 8th Territorial Unit is unique in one aspect. It is complemented with regular infantry companies and specialized subdivisions. Such structure helps to seek for higher involvement in international operations. Various circumstances make Lithuanian armed forces and its components, including the 8th Territorial Unit, move ahead, seek for equal partnership and sometimes even try to overcome our partners. This is a rule especially when we talk about the international operations" - said Lt Col Gediminas Macijauskas.

 

Among volunteer servicemen of the 8th Territorial Unit one can meet people with varying social status: officers of state, workers of private enterprises, business people, students, pupils, etc.

Pictures from the Territorial Unit's archive and by Kęstutis Gruodis

 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

Updated on: 2010-05-06
Sprendimas: Fresh Media