The upgrade of the National Guard’s capabilities and equipment is a priority for Cyprus, Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said on Friday, speaking as he awarded green berets to this year’s recruits who have completed their special forces training.
At a ceremony held at the ‘Stelios Mavromati’ army camp in Stavrovouni, Petrides congratulated the soldiers, saying they should feel moved and proud of themselves for having managed to face the physically and mentally exhausting challenges of their training and for fulfilling the expectations they set when they decided to join the special forces.
“Today’s ceremony is the culmination of a long and arduous series of efforts, during which the recruits acquired the ‘commando’s spirit’, which is based primarily on the will to execute missions under any conditions.
“Their determination to improve their capabilities was the only way to go in order to complete their training and be part of an elite unite,” Petrides said,
He then called on the new recruits to continue their careers “with the same determination and with the same vigour displayed during their training.”
“The history of Hellenism, but also the reality of today’s world, teaches us that the real advantage does not lie in numbers and size, but in the soldiers’ souls and morale.
“The National Guard has constantly proved to us that consistency, responsibility and professionalism are key traits.
Petrides said the defence ministry over the last year upgraded some of the National Guard’s armament, adding that modern smoothbore rifles will also be part of the special unit’s future supply.
The defence minister also extended his congratulations to the soldiers’ parents for raising them with the principles that led them to their current position, in addition to the commanding officers who conducted the training for offering their professional guidance.
Ukrainian-Cypriot Aristotelis Petrou was individually awarded by Petrides during the ceremony in Stavrovouni.
“We are incredibly proud of him, to be awarded by the Defence Minister himself is a great honour,” his father Phivos Petrou told Cyprus Mail.
“Next year, my other sons are also going to be start their green berets training,” he said.