U.S. Ambassador refers to Macedonia as an “exporter of security”

Source: U.S. Embassy

Remarks by Ambassador Milovanovic at the awards ceremony presentation of medals to members of Iraqi Freedom

December 14, 2007 at 1435, Army House, Room 4

Minister Elenovski, General Stojanovski, honored guests and distinguished members of the Macedonian contingents who participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It is a pleasure to be with you today as we recognize the Republic of Macedonia’s outstanding contributions to creating a free and democratic Iraq.  Specifically, I am honored to recognize the dedication to duty of some exceptional ARM soldiers and officers.

Gentlemen:  you are men of whom the Republic of Macedonia should be very proud.  You performed your duties under dangerous and difficult circumstances and brought honor to yourselves, your families and your country.  You contributed to Macedonia’s reputation as a country that is not just committed to helping emerging democracies but willing to send its best military talent to accomplish the task.

The United States greatly values Macedonia as an ally in the coalition.  Your troops have served with ours since the early days of reconstruction in Iraq.  Every day, Macedonian troops perform with valor and professionalism in this vital mission.  There can be no doubt:  Your partnership with us underscores Macedonia’s successful transition to being an “exporter of security.”

Today, we honor the soldiers from the 7th and 8th contingents deployed to Iraq.  The men assembled here earned the decorations they are about to receive through hard work and courage.  And this is not the end of the process or of the awards.  For with each contingent deployed, Macedonia extends its achievements.  I know other ARM members will follow your excellent example.

With me today to present these awards is COL Bradley Barker, the Deputy for Coalition Operations from Camp Victory in Baghdad.  With his assistance, I will present the Meritorious Service Medals. After this, Col. Barker, who knows first hand the sacrifices that these awards represent, will present the remaining awards.

Gentlemen, you have proven yourselves to be highly dedicated and competent professionals.  You represent the best of the soldiers that compose the ARM.  Just as you have excelled in the field, I hope that now you will pass your knowledge, skills and experience on to your fellow soldiers as they train and prepare for careers as professional soldiers.

Finally, I want to thank all of the families here today.  Your men have chosen a difficult career, one that demands a lot from them but that demands just as much from you.  Without your understanding, support and encouragement these men would not be on this stage today.   I salute your dedication to duty and honor. 

I applaud you all and I thank you.