Anniversary Festivities: History and Future Outlook
The National Defence University celebrated its anniversary in Santahamina on Friday, 11 January 2019. The anniversary in January traces its roots to the establishment of the National Defence University on 14 January 1993.
The 26th anniversary began with a wreath laying in the Hall of Heroes. The granite wall slabs in the hall contain the names of the over 450 Army and Air Force Cadets or Professional Officers who were killed during World War II. The wreath laying was led by the Vice Rector of the National Defence University, Colonel Markku Hutka and he was assisted by Lieutenant Colonel Niclas von Bonsdorff.
After the wreath laying ceremony there was a review of troops and field devotional at the grounds of the campus. In his review address the Rector of the National Defence University, Major General Jari Kallio, spoke of the importance of traditions, both in the National Defence University and in the Finnish Defence Forces.
– Traditions play a strong role in an anniversary. Traditions bind us, they remind us where we come from, why our job is important, and they also create a sense of togetherness and promote esprit de corps, Kallio summed up his message.
The celebrations then continued in the Santahamina Building, led by Colonel Hutka. After his greeting, the Rector gave the podium to the former Rector of the National Defence University, the current Finnish Defence Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Personnel, Major General Ilkka Korkiamäki. Korkiamäki talked about the number of personnel in the Defence Forces and the changes happening in the future, as well as the importance of the National Defence University as the educator of officers.
– The officers that graduate from here are respected by conscripts and reservists, and society at large. We have to maintain the same high level also in the future, which also guarantees a large enough population that wants to serve their country as officers. The National Defence University knows how to do this, and I am perfectly confident that the trend will continue also in the future, Korkeamäki stated.
The seventh volume of the publication series Suomalaisen sotataidon klassikoita, about Finnish military theory, was also introduced during the celebrations. Colonel (ret.) Hannu Liimatta gave a presentation on the book Vihollisen taktiikasta ja omista vastatoimenpiteistä, that is based on a previously unpublished contemporary manuscript about tactics during the Winter War, written by Lieutenant Colonel Valter Nordgren. This volume of the series expands and explains Nordgren’s manuscript, which was the first document that extensively described Finnish and Russian tactics during the Winter War. Liimatta reminded the audience about the value of unresearched historical documents and told everyone to have an open mind about writing.
– I can say with great satisfaction, that over the years I have had the opportunity to engage you in many interesting discussions and meetings. That is how I know that military theoretical thinking prospers on this campus. And so, inspired by this volume published today, I would like to encourage all of you to write down and publish your own thoughts, Liimatta said.
The celebrations also included awarding employees who had transferred out of the National Defence University and those who have distinguished themselves in their duties.