Six lorries and one backhoe loader donated by the U.S. were formally handed over to the Croatian Armed Forces in the Barracks “Kamensko” in Karlovac on 15 July 2019.
The official handover ceremony was attended by the the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and the Chief of General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov, by Special Advisor to the Defence Minister Božo Kožul, by the Director of the General Staff Vice Admiral Robert Hranj and by the Ambassador of the United States to Croatia, H.E. Robert Kohorst.
Minister Damir Krstičević extended appreciation to the United States for the support provided to the Croatian Armed Forces and emphasised that the donation again confirmed the excellent bilateral relations and co-operation.
“This engineering equipment will significantly upgrade the engineering capabilities and increase the mobility and sustainability of our units”, said the Minister who also said that he had discussed the bilateral co-operation with the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during the recent NATO defence ministers meeting.
“In our bilateral bilateral co-operation the United States has so far donated more than 500 mil USD for the equipment and modernisation of the Croatian Armed Forces. I have to single out the donation of two Black Hawk helicopters, whose introduction into the operational service of the Croatian Air Force has ensured transfer to the western technology and an important technological progress for Croatia and will significantly promote the Croatian Air Force’s capabilities and assets.
The Minister also underlined the co-operation in the education of Croatian officers in the U.S. military schools, at the operational and strategic levels.
“More than thousand most promising officers have attended the education programmes to date, some of them arrived two weeks ago”, said the Minister.
Minister Krstičević concluded by extending appreciation to the members of the Engineer Company for their contribution to UNIFIL, in what was the very first deployment of a unit of the Croatian Army.
The Chief of the General Staff General Mirko Šundov said that the donated equipment will be delivered to the Engineering Regiment in support its efficient and capable execution of any assigned tasks, particularly the assistance to the disaster-hit civilian population, and exercise- and training- related engineering projects.
“The United States is Croatia’s most important strategic partner with regard to the maintenance and development of its defence capabilities. Our ambition is to maintain and upgrade the attained capability level. The defence co-operation is the axis of the bilateral relations between the United States and Croatia”, said General Šundov.
The Commander of the Croatian Army, Major General Siniša Jurković stressed that the donation would significantly upgrade the Croatian Army’s capabilities, particularly for the important task involving the assistance to civilian institutions.
The U.S. Ambassador praised the bilateral co-operation and the Croatian Army’s professionalism.
“I believe that the donated equipment will help the members of the Engineering Company and of the Croatian Army conduct their tasks efficiently. This is just one of the U. S.’s donations to the Republic of Croatia and I believe our co-operation will continue, to the satisfaction of both countries”, said Ambassador Kohorst.
The Engineering Regiment Commander, Colonel Alan Srpak said the new donations would increase the existing capabilities and enable the serve as a training tool for new personnel.
The Engineering Regiment comprises the Vehicle Bridgelayer Company, the Pontoon Company (building floating bridges), the Engineering Company (construction works), Bridge and Amphibious Company and the Demining Company.
The donation was funded through the Global Peace Keeping Operations Initiative programme.
The donation to the Engineer Support Company consists in six Ford 3542 D lorries and one JCB 4CX, (total value 7.801,564,00 HRK).
The years-long co-operation (since 1996) has seen U.S. donations worth more than 500 mil USD, comprising 220 MRAP vehicles and 16 Kiowa Warrior helicopter, and recently two Black Hawk helicopters.