Paratroopers jump into the Vltava to mark the Czech Army’s 30th anniversary

While its roots go back much longer, the Czech Army as it exists now was established in 1993.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 28.06.2023 14:48:00 (updated on 28.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Paratroopers and rescuers jumped into the Vltava river as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the existence of the Czech Army. They vaulted from a Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter, some of them were then picked up directly from the water by another W-3A Sokol military helicopter.

People can also see demonstrations of close combat, military equipment, and the training of service dogs until 6 p.m. at Rašínovo nábřeží and Hořejší nábřeží on Prague’s waterfront. A ferry will run between the two embankments all day.

In addition to watching helicopter jumps, people can explore military equipment, such as the Tatra heavy terrain vehicle with a mortar or the Pandur armored vehicle. Younger visitors were particularly interested in the possibility of loading a machine gun, an armored car, or other weapons. They could also try out the L-159 battleship flight simulator.

The army's history extends more than just 30 years

The anniversary marks three decades since the start of the Czech Army, which began in 1993 with the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia into two separate democratic states. Before that, there was the Czechoslovak Army, which has its roots in the First Republic but also existed throughout the communist era.

Chief of the General Staff Karel Řehka said that the army's history starts even before Czechoslovakia was established at the end of 1918.

"In fact, the military has a long tradition that predates our independent state," he said. Czechoslovak legionnaires fought in World War I, for example. "They put their lives on the line for a country that didn't exist yet," Řehka said.

Deputy Defense Minister Daniel Blažkovec pointed out that the army helps people in the event of natural and other disasters.

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Military bases also host rare animals

The army will also present some of the rare wildlife that can be found on the land it manages via augmented reality. Computer animation will show visitors one of the rarest inhabitants found at military locations – the European bison.

The military’s forestry service wants to remind people that six military districts and localities that are not only important for defense, but are also unique natural islands that serve as an asylum for a number of rare animals and plants.

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