At the ceremony held at the Aviation Club in Zemun, AF&AD Commander Major General Duško Žarković pointed out that even though it has been 20 years since the NATO aggression on FR Yugoslavia, we all remember those difficult times in which the aggressor did not choose the means to achieve their goal.
– In that unannounced and inexplicable war, the aggressor did not choose means to achieve their goal, and all the rules of war ceased to be valid at that moment. We all remember this difficult time, the time of suffering, perishing and pain that we shared with our people. The capability, moral strength and determination of our army and people have contributed to the resistance to be strong, resolute and uninterrupted, and the enemy not to achieve their goals.
According to him, skilful command, timely operational development, the implementation of operational and tactical camouflage, the rational and efficient firing actions of our air defence units are to be credited for preventing the planned rapid destruction and the absolute dominance of the manifold superior enemy in the airspace in terms of materiel and strength.
– In performing their duty, 28 members of the 250th Missile Brigade gave their lives for the freedom of the homeland, the dignity of their people and the honour of the profession. Their bravery, heroism, professionalism and patriotism will always be an inspiration for our further work – General Žarković said, adding that in the forthcoming period the brigade is to face with the important processes of equipping and modernisation, which will significantly improve the capability of our air defence, and the security of the airspace of the Republic of Serbia will be even better.
Commander of the 250th AD Missile Brigade Colonel Tiosav Janković pointed out that the brigade, since its formation, has been a large, significant and special unit, with an important and noble task and that numerous are the exams it successfully passed, including the hardest one – the defence of the homeland against NATO aggression.
– The decision of our leadership to award the defenders of the country with commemorative medal as well on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the defence of the country against the NATO aggression means a lot to us. This is a great day and we pay respect to all those who, despite the strength and power of the NATO aggressors, managed to survive and persevere all 78 days of aggression, in carrying out their tasks, preserving the personnel and materiel, while making significant and valuable achievements, after which we are recognisable even today – Colonel Janković said.
Reflecting on the losses suffered by the brigade during the aggression, commander of the 250th Missile Brigade said that today's ceremony is an opportunity to recall the fallen comrades whose sacrifice must not be forgotten and that the brigade should continue to be built respecting and remembering those who preserved it by their work and struggle, defending the freedom and their homeland.
Lieutenant General Milan Mojsilović, Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, presented the military memorial medals to the families of the deceased members and to the wounded members of the 250th Missile Brigade.
War commander of the brigade, Major General (Rtd.) Miroslav Lazović, and wartime Chief of Staff of the 250th AD Missile Brigade Colonel (Rtd.) Dragan Stanković, war commanders of the battalions, active military personnel serving outside the brigade, as well as current commander of the brigade, Colonel Tiosav Janković, and chief of staff of the 250th Missile Brigade, Colonel Novica Gogić, were presented with military memorial medals by AF&AD Commander Major General Duško Zarković.
The retired and active members of the brigade received military recognitions from Colonel Tiosav Janković, Commander of the 250th Missile Brigade.
For Brigadier General (Rtd.) Stanko Vasiljević, who, in 1999, served as a member of the combat service of the 4th AD Missile Battalion, the received military commemorative medal was acknowledgement for his efforts and skills in the fight against one of the world's greatest powers.
– We were on firing positions day and night. We were hit, repaired, operated again, professionally executed combat tasks, exploiting combat capabilities of the materiel as much as possible. How successful we were is best described by our opponents, the aggressors who said that even on the last day – the day 78, they were no safer than on the first day of the war – General Vasiljević pointed out.
At the beginning of the NATO aggression, retired Colonel Dragan Stanković was on duty as chief of staff at the 250th Missile Brigade HQ, and only a few days later, due to circumstances, he assumed the position of a deputy commander of the brigade, where he was until the end of the aggression. According to him, the most important thing for him is that due to all the preparations that preceded the aggression, the brigade members managed to continually oppose the aggressor, cause significant losses to the enemy and save their own forces until the end of the war.
For the chief master sergeant of the 2nd Missile Battalion of the 250th Missile Brigade, Vladimir Ljubenković, who first spotted the stealth plane F-117A in 1999, the received military memorial medal was acknowledgement of the state for everything they did and for which the state educated and schooled them.
Today's ceremony was attended by members of the Collegium of the Chief of General Staff and AF&AD Commander, families of the deceased members of the 250th Missile Brigade, members of the wartime composition of the brigade and numerous guests.