SLOVAKIA appreciates its cooperation with the USA in military matters as well as cooperation based on values such as freedom and democracy, said Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik when granting honorary citizenship to Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Commander of the US National Guard in Indiana on September 26, the TASR newswire reported.
Umbarger and the National Guard in Indiana have been cooperating with the Slovak Armed Forces since 1994 as part of the United State’s Partnership Program. This cooperation contributed significantly to Slovakia's accession to NATO in 2004 and to the professionalisation and modernisation of its armed forces. Umbarger was part of this bilateral cooperation for over seven years.
Umbarger, referred to by Ftáčnik as a man of great vision, big plans and persistence, said in his acceptance speech that he had received many awards throughout his career but that he values his honorary Bratislava citizenship the most.
The major general is the first foreigner from outside the EU to receive this honorary citizenship from Bratislava. The last recipient was Maximilian Pammer, the former Austrian ambassador to Slovakia, in 2009.
3. Oct 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff