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BECOMING A SOLDIER BY CALL OF BLOODThe military unit is in active training. Artillery units are undergoing fire training. By the order of Lt Vardanyan, the conscripts release the artillery piece and report that they are ready for the next steps. The operations of the unit are clear, fast and accurate, the high fighting spirit and readiness of the soldiers are obvious. As it is known, the role of the direct leader is the most important in this case.


Lt Vardan Vardanyan, who is completely dedicated to his service and stands out with his diligence and professional skills, is a senior officer in the battery of the artillery division. “Always choose the most difficult way. You will not meet rivals there.” The lieutenant who later chose the words of French President Charles de Gaulle as a guide is particularly fond of his profession as an artilleryman.

“I fell in love with artillery from the very beginning,” he says. “This is not just a profession for me.” I am so attached to the weapon that I try to learn more and more about its possibilities.”

After graduating from the university with a degree in geography, Vardan entered the military service in one of the military units of Armenia. In 2018, he graduated with honors from the officer training courses of the Vazgen Sargsyan University and enlisted in the defense of his native Syunik.

“I am from the sweetest place in our country, Meghri. The name already says everything about my birthplace, it is sweet and dear like honey. It is our little paradise, always warm, always hospitable, warm, both in terms of climate and people. No one leaves the village to work in foreign countries. Besides, Vazgen Sargsyan also said. “Meghri is not just an area, but a gateway of important significance.” We keep our southern borders with all responsibility, and I with special love. Syunik is my home, the impregnable fortress…

Vardan’s paternal grandfather, Tadevos Hambardzumyan, was a comrade-in-arms of Garegin Nzhdeh. He took part in toast fights with Nzhdeh in the self-defense battles of Syunik. When Nzhdeh was later persecuted and was wanted to be sent to Siberia, his loyal comrade Tadevos sheltered him for a long time in his ancestral village of Kuris. In Meghri and the surrounding communities, young and old still know and remember Tadevos, their heroic defender.

“My great-grandfather Tadevos was a soldier with a spinal cord,” says Vardan. “The struggle to liberate the homeland, the struggle was his daily life.” In part, it was his character, his fighting spirit that inspired me to choose the military profession. My uncle continued our grandfather’s work. From the very beginning of the formation of the national army he enlisted in the Artsakh war and became an active participant in it. Thanks to my uncle, I got to know the military more closely. Especially from the war years, I listened to his stories as if I were watching a movie. One by one, they recounted amazing episodes of hostilities and military tactics they used. They did incredible things…

Military officer training was extremely important for Vardan in terms of professional development. He graduated with honors.

“You know, if a person wants to study, strives, he will learn at the expense of sleep and rest. I remember we used to spend nights with the boys in our group. We were solving a problem, making calculations.

The teaching staff of Vazgen Sargsyan University consists of experienced servicemen who have served in the army. We received not only professional knowledge from them, but also the art of being a commander, leadership, which is no less important. Military service should be the aspiration of the person who has chosen that profession, the energy, the awareness of what he is learning for, the most important thing is that he should be able to pass on the knowledge to those who come after him.”

It has been about two years since Lt Vardanyan has been passing on his knowledge and skills to the soldiers.

“I want them to surpass me both in terms professionalism and discipline. That’s how it should be. When my soldiers perform standard tasks, I never tell them. This is a “good” result, this is a “sufficient” result. I say, this is an “excellent” index, below that is “insufficient”. Or they should try to surpass the “superior”.

Artillery is a collective work. If I do all the calculations correctly, but a link in the chain, a soldier makes a mistake, the projectile will fly in the wrong direction. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly check and refine all the actions of the staff, their chain, to perfect all the actions, so that each member of the staff works clearly and confidently in his place.

I am happy when I manage to bring to a high level of consciousness my soldiers from different parts of the country, who have been brought up in different families for 18 years.

I asked Vardan what is the most important thing in a soldier-officer relationship, how he manages to rehabilitate the already young people from different families.

“After all, I, like them, was a soldier, an artilleryman at the time. I know how the soldier thinks, what problems he has, what inspires him, gives him imperfections. I know the nuances of conveying knowledge more easily. “Sometimes I even explain with the example of a pear and an apple,” he smiles. This is the most effective method of educating. If I tell them to always be shaved, then my soldiers should always see me shaved. If I say they should wake up at 6 a.m., then I must be on my feet at least 10 minuetes before 6. And when I say, for example, “Guys, we must lift this stone,” the whole unit immediately approaches willingly. If I order them to move the stone, half of them may approach, but not everyone will be ready to do it. I do not even order. I say, “Guys, we have to lift this stone,” and I am the first to get to work, immediately the whole battery gathers around me. “Lieutenant, you go, we will.” I say. “No, dear boys, together.” They know very well that I am one of them, but they know for sure that I am their commander.

“And what kind of soldier were you?”

“My school friend and I served in the same artillery division. One day the head of our division headquarters said, ‘If I tell all the officers of the division at this moment, stand aside to instruct just Vardanyan and Avetisyan, I am sure they will control the fire of the division clearly on their own.” And we would fire all 12 cannons. And how did we get there? When the commander of my platoon was calculating, I stood next to him asking questions. ‘How do you do the calculations? How is this, how should he be done right?’ When we received a task with the soldiers of our unit, I told the others: ‘Guys, we have to do this no matter what, so let’s do it quickly’.

“Today you are still serving in the border military unit, Vardan.  It seems that the border is peaceful, the shootings are not as frequent as in other areas.”

“First of all, let me say that border peace is always and everywhere very relative. There is no less or more dangerous border. And the border, which is constantly shelled, has an advantage; it keeps the military strong. It is true that it is calm here today. While on combat duty, I tell the staff: “Always know that peace along our entire border is relative. The situation can change dramatically at any moment, any of our shortcomings can be fatal for us and the people sleeping peacefully behind us.” The border we control is very strong. Silence is deceptive, so we must be ready at all times. I always imagine that the enemy is awake, always watching, checking our vigilance, looking for our weak points. I give the same mood to the staff so that they understand the seriousness and effectiveness of their work. And so it is. I am proud of my guys, I am very proud, both in terms of professionalism and fighting spirit. I am absolutely sure that they can accurately perform any combat task set before them. We keep the strong gate of our homeland. Responsibility and vigilance are the priorities of our work.




Category: #37 (1357) 16.09.2020 - 22.09.2020, National army, Spotlight