News: Romanian soldiers celebrate their Armed Forces Day in Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. Ashley Curtis
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - National pride was evident across the faces of deployed Romanian service members celebrating their country's Armed Forces Day on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Oct. 25.
Romanian Army Maj. Alexandru Belehuz said there was a major difference between commemorating the occasion here versus marking it at home.
“It’s different here because we feel the war,” he said. “In our country, all the military [at home] are in peacetime. Here they are fighting at different forward operating bases, some in hard conditions.”
Romanian Army Maj. Daniel-ion Gogoescu, Romanian Army liaison for Regional Command (South), said he is proud to serve here with coalition forces and to share his culture with them.
“It was a pleasure to take a break and serve native dishes to celebrate Romanian Armed Forces,” he said. “It was a good time to interact with coalition forces in a social environment.”
Romania ranks No. 2 in terms of International Security Assistance Force troop numbers serving in Regional Command South behind only the United States.
“We as the armed forces would like to remain committed,” said Romanian Army Col. Gologan, the senior ranking Romanian officer on the airbase. “We want to be with [Americans] here in the same fight.”
Gologan also said it’s important to remember and remain connected to people back home.
Romania’s Minister of Defense, Corneliu Dobritoiu, described Armed Forces Day as a fundamental symbol for the Romanian people and the services who have been actively serving Romania for the last 150 years.
“I strongly believe celebrating this day should be, first and foremost, a celebration of Romania’s unperishing values of patriotism, bravery and faith in our country,” he said.
Romanians mark Armed Forces Day annually on October 25 to commemorate the liberation of Carei, the last German-occupied city in the country during World War II.
Dobritoiu said, “[Romanians] praise not only the great, well-known Romanian heroes who have made possible the birth of our nation and people, but also the lesser-known Romanians who fought in the two world wars and comrades who gave the ultimate sacrifice."