With hundreds of participants, including significant guests, local authorities and above all, numerous citizens of Bydgoszcz, with a military ceremony and parade, drill teams’ presentations, picnic at the Mill Island and an evening concert for the centre’s current and former staff, the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) celebrated its 10th Anniversary. The events, organized in cooperation with the Bydgoszcz’s authorities, were held on 30 May.
“The fact that 10 years ago it was decided that Bydgoszcz would become the home for the JFTC was not a coincidence. For a number of years the city’s history and traditions have been closely connected with the army. Bydgoszcz was the seat of the Pomeranian Military District, it is the home of the Inspectorate for the Armed Forces Support and here the 1st Pomeranian Logistic Brigade operates dynamically as do several other Polish Army units and now also NATO” - said Brigadier General Grabowski, the JFTC Commander, at the Bydgoszcz Old Market Square. “Relations between the city and the army are still cultivated, but now it has a global dimension.”
Lieutenant General Mieczysław Gocuł, the Chief of the Polish General Staff, who also represented the Polish Minister of National Defence, Mr. Tomasz Siemoniak, highlighted the importance of both the NATO training centre and the City of Bydgoszcz: “Bydgoszcz is the place, where, thanks to a decade of the JFTC’s activity, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s idea, based on joint effort of a number of people and subjects, came true and was verified in practice. (…) Bydgoszcz became a place of promoting and bringing to perfection the Alliance’s training doctrine. The Joint Force Training Centre responds to the needs of today’s and future world.”
The Mayor of Bydgoszcz, Mr. Rafał Bruski, thanked the JFTC for a good cooperation with the City and its citizens: “I am very glad that throughout the years we were together, that our cooperation – especially this direct one with the JFTC Commanders – was marked with the best, friendly relations” – the Mayor said and added: “For us, the JFTC presence in Bydgoszcz was, and will be very important. Not only because of the hospitality that was mentioned before. We do appreciate your active presence in the city’s life. Thank you for your reliable presence and cooperation in many projects, which were essential for the city – the military ones, but also other - cultural, educational and patriotic.”
After his speech, Mayor of Bydgoszcz awarded the JFTC with the Mayor of Bydgoszcz Medal. The award was received by General Grabowski.
In the evening, during a meeting with the JFTC former and current staff, Brigadier General Dzintars Roga, the Allied Command Transformation Assistant Chief of Staff Joint Education, Training and Exercise, who represented the JFTC superior, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Jean-Paul Paloméros, addressed the audience and underlining the centre’s significance in the past, referred to its future. “If there is one thing certain about the Joint Force Training Centre’s future, it will be the need to continue to “Innovate and Transform”. The Connected Forces Initiative carries a complex, ambitious but achievable future exercise programme, supported by the better use of our available technology and integration of new information technology. Our clear aim remains to provide the Alliance with “Ready and Interoperable” forces and we have full confidence in the Joint Force Training Centre’s proven ability to meet this aim and provide high quality and full spectrum training through credible exercises” – said General Roga.
The JFTC 10th anniversary celebrations lasted for the whole day. They were launched with the VIP programme at the centre’s facility, then moved to the Bydgoszcz Old Market Square, where, all citizens were invited to participate in the ceremony and to admire the military parade and performances of Polish and German drill teams. After the official ceremony the JFTC Commander invited all participants to move to the beautiful Bydgoszcz Mill Island, where a traditional Polish military pea soup was served and, in JFTC and national tents, one could learn more about NATO and the centre itself – all that was accompanied by a concert of a Military Orchestra from Toruń and military singers. It was the first time, when the JFTC opened so widely to the public and organized an important ceremony outside its compound.
The official part of the ceremony in the Old Market Square ended with wreath laying at the Martyrdom Memorial. The wreath laid by the Polish Chief of General Staff, the JFTC Commander, the Mayor of Bydgoszcz and French and German Senior National Representatives, commemorated victims of the Second World War.
In the evening the JFTC staff had a chance to spend some time with old friends who served in Bydgoszcz in the past. They all listened to a fantastic performance of the Representative Artistic Ensemble of the Polish Armed Forces.
Apart from the Chief of the Polish General Staff, the Allied Command Transformation Assistant Chief of Staff Joint Education, Training and Exercise, and the Mayor of Bydgoszcz also His Excellency Jakub Karfik, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Poland, Senator Jan Rulewski, Mrs. Ewa Mes, the Voivode of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province, Mrs. Dorota Jakuta, the Chairperson of the Regional Parliament, Lieutenant General Edward Gruszka, the Chief of the Polish Armed Forces Support Inspectorate, as well as former JFTC Directors and Commanders, Deputy Directors and Deputy Commanders, including Major General (ret.) Peter Kuhnel, Major General Agner Rokos, Major General Pavel Macko, Brigadier General (ret.) Ryszard Wiśniewski, Rear-Admiral Stanisław Zarychta and Brigadier General Jaromir Zuna, and many other JFTC friends, honoured the centre with their presence during the celebrations.