On St George's Day, Bulgarian Armed Forces Mark Day of Valour by Blessing of Colours, Military Parade in Sofia
105 MILITARY - ARMED FORCES DAY - OBSERVANCES
On St George's Day, Bulgarian Armed Forces
Mark Day of Valour by Blessing of Colours,
Military Parade in Sofia
Sofia, May 6 (BTA) - May 6 was marked countrywide by various events as the Day of Valour and of the Bulgarian Armed Forces.
In the morning, the military standards were blessed and sprinkled with holy water by Bishop Gerasim of Melnik in the prayerful presence of Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte at a ceremony in front of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier.
More than 1,000 service members in ten blocks marched past the dignitaries assembled in Sofia's Knyaz Alexander I Square. They represented the G. S. Rakovski National Defence College, the National Guards Unit, the Vassil Levski National Military University, the Land Forces (the 61st Stryama Mechanized Brigade and the Smolyan-based 101st Alpine Regiment), the Air Force, the Navy, the 68th Special Forces Brigade, the Gorna Malina-based Deployable Communications Module of NATO Communications and Information System of the Joint Forces Command, and the Military Police Service. The 2018 parade was commanded by Major General Ivan Lalov, Deputy Commander of the Joint Forces Command.
After the march-past, 10 warplanes and helicopters flew over the square: a Mi-24 helicopter escorted by two AS 532 AL Cougars, a C-27J Spartan military transport, Pilatus trainer aircraft and three MiG-29 jet fighters. Next, 48 wheeled and tracked units of Land Forces and Air Force antiaircraft missile equipment rolled past the audience: Mercedes G-class 270FB-6 light utility vehicles, armoured Humvees, Commando Select four-wheeled armoured personnel carriers, Guardian armoured personnel carriers, Sand Cat armoured vehicles, BTR-60 PB armoured personnel carriers, 152 mm D-20 towed howitzers, BM-21 GRAD multiple launch rocket systems, 122 mm B1.10 Tundzha self-propelled mortars, 122 mm 2S-1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, BMP-23 and BMP-1 armoured infantry fighting vehicles, SS-21 Tochka short-range surface-to-surface missile systems, and OSA-1, S-125 Neva (SA-3), S-200 Vega (SA-5) and S-300 (SA-10) surface-to-air missile systems.
For the first time, a display of period German-made vehicles used by the Bulgarian military during WW II was included in the parade: a Kuebelwagen Phanomen Granit 30 command car (1936), a Steyr-640 truck (1940), a Kuebelwagen Volkswagen Type 82-KDF (1943), and Zundapp KS750 (1942), BMW R75 (1943), BMW E12 (1940) and BMW R35 (1940) motorcycles.
Addressing the military and the members of the public before the parade, President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Rumen Radev argued that after decades of neglect, the armed forces must take their befitting place in Bulgarian society and in the system of Bulgarian statehood. "The armed forces are called upon to be a mainstay of stability, statehood and constitutional order, as an institution enjoying high public confidence, which must be safeguarded against all political interference," the President said. "Over the last decades, our military have lived through all sorts of experiments, scarcity, numerical strength reductions and political arrogance, but they have always survived, because the people in uniform are aware of their mission," Radev pointed out.
He noted that the complexity of contemporary warfare requires vigorous dialogue between the State leadership and the top military command, as well as an active and principled stand from the Bulgarian generals "because today's silence may cost dearly the subordinates and the taxpayers tomorrow".
The national anthem was played and a 20-gun salute was fired after the President's speech.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva, Vice President Iliana Iotova, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, the Chief of Defence, General Andrei Botsev, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, MPs, Cabinet members, senior military officers, foreign diplomats and military attaches and war veterans watched the May 6 parade. LI/LG