On Tuesday, January 21, at the historical Military Club Marble Room (Casa Armatei / Cercul Militar) more than two hundred and twenty people gathered to celebrate and honor those who have sacrificed life and limb for our countries’ freedom, peace and security. The Veterans Gala celebration was a joint team effort between The Wounded Warriors Project, Asociația CAMARAZII and MIC & Associates. It recognized, like never before the sacrifice made by men and woman of our armed forces during battles in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Darfur and Yemen.
The Gala was enthusiastically supported and endorsed by President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minster Ludovic Orban, Minister of Defense Nicolae Ciuca, Romanian Ambassador to Washington DC, George Cristian Maior and by the top brass of the Romania army, inducing Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Daniel Petrescu.
Three Romanian servicemen were bestowed the 2019 Exceptional Bravery Award for their outstanding service to our countries in Irak and Afghanistan. They were Plt. Adj. Pr. (RTR) Florinel Enache, Plt. Maj. Ionut-Claudiu Butoi and Plt. Adj. (Rtr) Daniel Porumb.
The Supreme Sacrifice Award was bestowed posthumously to Sublocotenet (PM) Dragos Alexandrescu from the Mountain Rangers Division who died in 2008 when his armored personnel carrier hit an IED in Qalat-Kabul. Dragos left behind his wife Petrina-Bianca Alexandrescu and his two sons, Ionut and Cornel.
The same distinctions were awarded on the American side to three veterans of the same wars, all members of the prestigious Wounded Warrior Project in the United States. They were Jose Ramos, a Navy veteran who lost his left arm and suffered severe wounds to his legs and lungs during a rocket attack in Afghanistan.
Dan Nevins, who served as a paratrooper in the National Guard and was deployed in Iraq where in 2004. He felt victim to an IED detonated beneath his vehicle in Balad. As a result, Dan lost both legs and became a double amputee. Dan received the highest US military award, the Purple Heart.
Michael Carrasquillo is a former marine who jumped from a combat helicopter in Afghanistan in order to help his fellow unit member capture a high-value Al Qaeda official. He was shot at repeatedly being hit by five bullets. Michael was hospitalized for two years, learning how to walk and use his hands again.
Lastly, the Distinguished Military Career was awarded to Dr. Constantin Degeratu, (gen. ret.). Professor Constantin Degeratu is a retired four-star general who ended his tenure as Senior Security and Defense Advisor to the President of Romania in December 2009. Before, he served as the Chief of Staff for General Defense of the Romania Armed Forces (1997-2000), and Secretary General of Ministry of Defense. During the period of 2001-2004 he worked as a Professor of Central-European Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He also lectured as a guest speaker at the Harriman Institute for War and Peace at Columbia University (2009), New York University (2014) and Georgetown University (2014). He has also had a remarkable academic career as Professor of Political Science and Director of a Master’s Programs on Security and Defense Studies at the Dimitrie Cantemir University in Bucharest, Romania (2008-2014).
Currently, he is continuing his term as professor-invitee at University of Bucharest and Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His scholastic career also includes a wide variety of teaching engagements, most notably at the National Defense College/NDU Bucharest, National Intelligence Academy, Bucharest, and IDR/Romanian Diplomatic Institute, as well as active participation in conferences, international seminars and round table debates.
A graduate of the prestigious Royal College of Defense Studies in London (1995), General Degeratu enjoyed an impressive military career that, a part of his highest position as the Chief of Staff of General Defense (CHOD) of Romania (1997-2000), includes several other senior positions such as: Secretary General of the Ministry of National Defense (2000-2001), Deputy Chief of the Directorate for Military Operations (J3)/General Defense Staff (1996), and Chief of Military Operation Branch at 4th Army Headquarters in Cluj-Napoca, Romania (1990-1994).
His area of expertise, professional interest and research encompasses security assessment national security strategy formulation, defense planning, military strategy and military operations, strategic, operational and tactical leadership, democratization of the armed forces, global, international and European security (Central, Eastern and South-East Europe; South Caucasus, Black Sea, the Mediterranean Region and the Middle East); defense and military reform and transformation, peace-keeping, peace support operation, and post-conflict reconstruction). He also served as consultant for International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (2004-2006). His professional studies include extensive research on crisis and conflict management, civil-military relations, homeland security, counterterrorism, critical infrastructure protection, regional cooperation and arms control, Russian studies, international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflicts, and economic, energy and business security.
Gen. Degeratu has published a number of books, studies and articles on security and defense studies, war and peace, military strategy, Romania national security, NATO enlargement and NATO-PfP