Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Minister Stefanović at promotion ceremony for new Air Force and Air Defence non-commissioned officers

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, attended the promotion ceremony for 73 new Air Force and Air Defence non-commissioned officers at the "Colonel-Pilot Milenko Pavlović" military airfield in Batajnica. Congratulating the youngest non-commissioned officers, Minister Stefanović said that today, at the promotion ceremony in the Air Force and Air Defence, we are not only proud of investments in our equipment, but also in our people, who are a real treasure of our armed forces and our country.
  The Minister thanked the families of the new non-commissioned officers for raising such good people.
- When you see them lined up like this, young, handsome, ready to tackle all the challenges of the military profession and to wear the uniform and flag of their country with honour, you know that they were raised properly. They were brought up to love their country, to do their job properly and honourably, and for that we owe you and them a great debt of gratitude - said Minister Stefanović.
According to the Minister of Defence, this year we are marking the 110th anniversary of the Serbian Air Force.
  - A small, poor, war-torn Serbia formed its air command in 1912 and kept pace with the modern world, even at a time when some much more powerful countries were just getting ready to take that step. Sometimes it seems to me that we neglect that fact and that we do not know how to emphasize it enough. Generations of our Air Force and Air Defence personnel have applied all their skills and knowledge, and dedicated their lives to our Air Force. They have been through periods of prosperity, construction, wars, suffering, but also periods of shameful neglect and non-investment. They have been through a lot along the way. And we must make sure that our children know that Mihajlo Petrović was a Serbian pilot with no. 1 pilot licence, that Milenko Pavlović, whose name this airport in Batajnica is named after, was our pilot who took off to defend the skies of Serbia and gave his live in that unequal fight against 16 enemy aircraft In 1999 - said Minister Stefanović.

Our Air Force and Air Defence, Minister Stefanović said, has a glorious history, but today it also has a great future.

- We are making progress in investments slowly but surely, and today we are in the hangar we built and opened only a few weeks ago. This is new in Batajnica and it is not the last thing we will do. In the near future, you will have the opportunity to see new infrastructure here, but you can already see some of our equipment and weapons such as the modernized MiG 29s and new Mi-35 and Mi-17 helicopters, new Pantsir and FK-3 batteries and everything else that our Air Force and Air Defence has today. We are not only proud of our investment in technology, but we also want to invest in our people. First of all, I think that these young people, and all those who serve under the Serbian flag, are a real treasure to both Serbia and our military. And we want to continue to increase their salaries and invest in their knowledge - said Minister Stefanović.
He has also had an opportunity, he said, to visit the 2nd Class of Air Force and Air Defence NCO Course students, who are being admitted to professional military service today, during their training at the "Peskovi" training ground and that their training was not easy.
- Those six months were filled with hard effort and serious challenges. And, of course, they were just the beginning of a great military career, but they were a great way to check what these boys and girls are made of and I can tell you that they did great. For me, the best confirmation is to hear General Žarković, the commander of our Air Force and Air Defence, say how proud and happy he is that we can admit over 70 people into our military in just one day, and this is not the last admission - Minister Stefanović said.
The Minister of Defence expressed his expectation that the youngest non-commissioned officers would continue to honestly and honourably defend Serbian national colours of on their uniforms.
  - I want to thank all of you for choosing to serve your country, because I think there is no nobler profession. I expect you to continue to honestly and honourably defend Serbian national colours on your uniforms and I hope to see you again on other joyous occasions, when you get promoted to higher ranks, when you acquire new knowledge and when new equipment and technology arrives in Batajnica, but also in our other military bases. Once again, congratulations to you and your families on your first NCO ranks. Long live the Serbian Armed Forces, long live Serbia! - said Minister Stefanović.
Minister Stefanović presented a wristwatch with dedication to the best NCO in class, Sergeant Bojana Stanisavljević, whereas Deputy Chief of the Serbian Armed Forces General Staff, Lieutenant General Petar Cvetković and Air Force and Air Defence Commander Lieutenant General Duško Žarković presented the watches to sergeants Miloš Marković and Antonije Pehčevski, respectively.

Delivering her address on behalf of the entire class, Sergeant Bojana Stanisavljević said that thanks to joint effort, commitment and great desire, they had managed to pass numerous selections, tests and exams.
- We, our country’s youngest non-commissioned officers, have chosen to be worthy descendents of our ancestors and to make our future descendants proud. That is why we have chosen the honourable profession of a non-commissioned officer of the Serbian Armed Forces. Today, we are not only getting promoted, we are taking on responsibility to continue to develop through our work - Sergeant Bojana Stanisavljević emphasized.
  This is the 2nd class of Air Force and Air Defence NCO Course students who have joined the ranks of the professional non-commissioned officer corps straight from civilian life, after passing the selection process and successfully completing six-month training. They will be responsible for the maintenance of aircraft and other air force and air defence equipment.

The ceremony was attended by Commander of the Training Command Major General Željko Petrović, Chief of the Human Resources Department Brigadier General Savo Iriškić, the Training Command Chief of Staff Brigadier General Muharem Fazlić, Commander of the 204th Air Brigade Brigadier General Brane Krnjajić, Commander of the 250th Missile Brigade Brigadier General Tiosav Janković, Head of the Defence Minister’s Office Colonel Stevan Kotarlić, Commander of the 126th ASEWG Brigade Colonel Aleksandar Dučić, Sergeant Major of the Serbian Armed Forces Nenad Stević, as well as senior officers, families and friends of the youngest non-commissioned officers.