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IUNVA visit to UN Veterans Sweden May 2018.

034IUNVA VISIT TO SWEDEN ON INVITATION OF SWEDISH UN VETERANS

Early Monday morning 27th May 2018 after our Annual Wreath Laying of Sunday IUNVA members made their way to Dublin Airport for departure to Sweden.  Chairman Jim Casey, National Welfare Officer Mick Thompson, Post 1 President Michael Colton, Post 1 Chairman John Egan, IUNVA Pipe Band Anto Byrne, Museum Curator Ronnie Delaney, Post 1 Mick Monaghan, John Toomey,  Joe O’Brien, Post 5 Des Keegan, Post 27 Martin Roe our Photographer and representing Defence Forces Sgt. Major John Murray.

On arrival we were met by members of Swedish UN Congo veterans and Per Carlborg who was our Congo contact veteran who represented the Swedish veterans.  A bus was arranged to transport us on our almost 2 hour drive to Ledningsregementet Enköping Garrison Barracks set in a beautiful woodland area with the kind permission of Capt Ray Lindahi.   This was a rest day and after an excellent dinner we had a few drinks with our hosts.

Tuesday 29th May 2018 International Peacekeepers Day we were on the road at 06.00 to attend Veterans Day.  On arrival we were met and introduced to Head of Veterans affairs Swedish Armed Forces Col Torbiorn Larsson and Sgt major Daniel Nybling Swedish Armed Forces Veterans Affair Office.  All veterans were issued with VIP Passes and were seated in the VIP area along with the King of Sweden Carl Gustaf Folke  Hubertus, The Minister of Defence Carl Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Micael Byden and Military attaches from other countries.  The ceremony was performed in an efficient professional manner and was most enjoyable.

After the Ceremony we were preceding to the catering area for dinner, I was approached by The Minister of Defence Carl Peter Hultqvist, I recognised him from his speech.  He asked if we were the 11 Irish Veterans, I replied yes and introduced myself as National Chairman.  He said it would be a very great honour for him to meet each member of our party.  All fell in including Sgt Major John Murray and each member gave their name and a brief description of their UN tours of duty.  We then fell out.   Col Torbiorn Larsson asked if we could wait another 15 minutes before lunch as The Swedish Armed Forces Supreme Commander Micael Byden also wished to meet us, we gladly accepted the request.  On his arrival we all fell and like the Minister he spoke to each member.  He then gave a short speech on our excellent role on UN duties and paid his respects to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.  We extend sincere thanks and appreciation to these gentlemen for giving up their busy schedule on the day for their courtesy to speak with us.  After an excellent meal we returned to base and were entertained by our hosts.

Wednesday 30th May 2018 again an early start as we set off to Visit  the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.  We had a guided tour of the museum; it would take a day to see all the items, so we had a short tour as we were going on a Steamer trip.  This trip was greatly enjoyed by all, we docked and had lunch, then returned to base exhausted but still had time for a few beers.

Thursday 31st May 2018 once again another early start to Royal Lifeguard Regiment in Kungsängen where we got a welcome from Colonel Laura Swaan-wiede.  A presentation was made to her by National Chairman.  She then presented tie pins to us.
DCO Lt Col Gustaf Dufberg gave us brief on the courses conducted at the centre. Rtd. Lt Col Arthur Armstrong from Irish Defence Forces also gave a brief; he is currently on the staff at the centre.   A presentation was made to Col Torbiorn Larsson by Michael Colton President Post 1.   After the briefs and lunch we had a guided tour of a small military museum.  Then a wreath laying ceremony and the Irish ambassador attended.

We then made our way to the Irish Ambassadors Resident in Stockholm for a reception hosted by her.  This was enjoyed by all and the Ambassador conversed with all members.  She gave a speech on our role on UN Duties past and present.  Our one and only, Anto brought the house to the roof with his pipes.   National Chairman made a presentation to the Ambassador.  On our return to base we had a barbeque and presentations were made To Swedish Congo UN Veterans by National Chairman, Michael Thompson and Martin Roe.

Friday 1st June 2018 at 04.00 hours we were awake and alert in preparation for our departure to the Airport.  We were accompanied by Swedish UN Congo Veterans to see us off.  No words can be expressed for the hospitality, catering, accommodation, transport arrangements and courtesy bestowed on us by our hosts.  Their pre-planning was second to none and we were on time for all events.

As National Chairman I must express my thanks to all our members on their excellent punctuality for all the events, their dress and deportment were a credit to them.  We did not have a single hitch during the visit, except the mosquitoes. They took a liking to Post 1 Chairman.  I must make special mention to Anto our Piper, Martin our photographer and Mick Thompson for the groundwork.  Also Sgt Major John Murray, he was a diplomat for the Defence Forces in his dress and deportment at all times.

The Swedish Government and Army have great respect and honour for its Veterans.  They have a Veterans Affairs Department established in the Army with a Colonel and a Sergeant Major full-time employed in this office to cater for all the requirements and needs of veterans.  The Government allot half a million Euro each year to the Swedish Veterans to cater for their needs.  Meetings between the Veterans Affairs Department and the Swedish Veterans are held regularly during the year to organise events and finances.

Photo Slideshow will follow in Photo Gallery

National Chairman





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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