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    Lithuanian Parliament member serves in unique way

    Lithuanian Parliament member serves in unique way

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Behlin | Junior Pvt. Mantas Adomenas of the Lithuanian Land Forces and Capt. Joshua Jackson,...... read more read more

    PABRADE, LITHUANIA

    11.30.2015

    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin 

    10th Press Camp Headquarters

    PABRADE TRAINING AREA, Lithuania - Putting service over self has been a theme Dr. Mantas Adomenas has lived by for years.

    Adomenas, currently a member of Parliament for the Republic of Lithuania, has pledged his life to his country in more than one capacity for many years. First as an associate professor of philology at Vilnius University, next as an elected official in Lithuania, and now as a junior private in the Lithuanian Armed Forces National Defense Volunteer Force.

    Despite the success Adomenas reached throughout his life, he always wanted to serve in the military.

    “Serving in the armed forces is something I’ve always had in my heart. I’ve always had sort of an unfulfilled desire to serve," said Adomenas. “In my opinion, to really be a patriot, you have to serve."

    Growing up during the Soviet era of Lithuania, Adomenas was well into his collegiate studies when the country reestablished its independence in 1990. Soon after, his career took off and led to opportunities to serve as a lecturer at the University of Cambridge and his current position in Parliament.

    As part of his daily duties as a member of Parliament, Adomenas and his peers review and approve government policies, budgets and laws, to name a few.

    Now in his second term, Adomenas said he feels a sense of achievement whenever reforms he introduced are successful.

    “I was one of the co-architects for higher education reform years ago. Now, when I see Lithuanian universities doing well, I feel like I accomplished what I fought for."

    Though successful in politics, Adomenas never lost his desire to serve in his country’s military. It was not a matter of if he would serve, but when. He credits the actions of a young man he met in 2014 for helping to make his dream a reality.

    While on a trip to observe elections in Ukraine in 2014, Adomenas met an 18 year old who volunteered to guard electoral precincts. He explained how the young man had lost friends in the Ukraine crisis and wanted to serve his country in any capacity he could.

    “For years, I just pondered when would be the best time, so I admit that I had put it off a few times,” Adomenas said. “But I was really inspired by this 18 year old. His actions really sped up my decision.”

    Upon his return to Lithuania, Adomenas filled out the necessary paperwork required to join the Volunteer Force. He officially took his oath of enlistment June 25, 2014 and has since contributed in any way that he could.

    Still without an official job within the Volunteer Force, he was recently assigned to the Public Information Center during Exercise Iron Sword, Lithuania’s largest NATO exercise.

    Working in the PIC allowed Adomenas to use many of his political skills to tell the story of the exercise and its participants. It also allowed those who knew of his political occupation the opportunity to work with one of their elected officials.

    “When I found out that he was a volunteer, I just naturally asked what he did for a living as a civilian. I was really blown away to hear that he was a member of Parliament, said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Shapiro, operations noncommissioned officer for the 10th Press Camp Headquarters.

    Shapiro, whose section worked with members of public information center during the exercise, was quite surprised at Adomenas’ answer.

    “I thought he was joking,” he said. “This isn’t something you’d see in our military.”

    Adomenas’ superiors were also grateful of the opportunity.

    “Working with Mantas has been a very pleasant experience,” said Capt. Vaidas Bimbiris, a civil affairs officer with the Lithuanian Land Forces.

    Bimbiris, who was in charge of Adomenas during the exercise, said that he would love the opportunity to work with him again.

    “He was really professional in everything that he did,” Bimbiris said. “There was never any hint of ego or entitlement, and I think that trait alone will take him far in the future.”

    Adomenas said that although he’s seeking reelection in 2016, he looks forward to one day getting back to being a professor.

    He said that helping to mold and develop students was something he really enjoyed and is anxious to get back to.

    “I’m not glued to my seat in Parliament, so eventually I plan to return to the academic arena,” said Adomenas.

    As far as his military plans go, Adomenas said that he would like to continue serving for as long as he’s able.

    “This is something that I would definitely like to continue for as long as I can,” he said. “Civilians would be amazed at the amount of things you can learn from doing this.”

    Adomenas mentioned that his family, friends and coworkers have all been supportive of his decision to serve in Lithuania’s Volunteer Forces. He said his decision has inspired someone really close to join.

    “My wife has been really supportive throughout this whole ordeal. She’s not the biggest fan of the long hours spent daily in the political arena, but is fine with the time spent volunteering," Adomenas said. “Now she wants to join next year. It makes me really proud to know that I helped to inspire her."

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.30.2015
    Date Posted: 11.30.2015 09:41
    Story ID: 183096
    Location: PABRADE, LT 

    Web Views: 328
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