USAREUR Commander awards Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal to Romanian, Moldovan

April 27, 2012

By Kelly Schloesser, U.S. Army Europe


  • USAREUR Commander awards Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal to Romanian, Moldovan

    U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling presents Maj. Gen. Ionita, the Romanian Land Forces Commander with the Legion of Merit.

  • USAREUR Commander awards Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal to Romanian, Moldovan

    USAREUR Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling presents Moldovan Minister of Defense Vitalie Marinuta with the Meritorious Service Medal.

Legion of Merit

In a ceremony held Thursday in Romania, U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling presented Maj. Gen. Ionita, the Romanian Land Forces Commander with the Legion of Merit.

The medal was given for Ionita's meritorious service as the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Land Forces, where he has been directly responsible for leading the army through its transformation and modernization program while simultaneously preparing and deploying Soldiers for combat in Afghanistan.

As the Chief of Staff he spearheaded a program to develop the Romanian National Training Center, improved training and opportuntities for the non-commissioned officer corps, implemented a female engagement team, and improved niche capabilities to further fighting skills.

Hertling and Ionita travelled together to Afghanistan this past winter to visit both US and Romanian forces. The Romanians continue to deploy 1,500 troops to the International Security Force annually.

Meritorious Service Medal

Lt. Gen Hertling also travelled to Chisinau, Moldova, where he presented the Minister of Defense, Vitalie Marinuta with the Meritorious Service Medal. The medal was given for the minister's service as a strategic planner at US Central Command in support of Moldovan Soldiers who participated in humanitarian and reconstruction missions in Iraq from 2003-2008. The USAREUR commander also presented Minister Marinuta with a certificate of honor noting his induction into the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Hall of Fame. The minister graduated from the school in 2000 and is the first Moldovan citizen to be inducted into the CGSC Hall of Fame.  

After the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Hertling said, "I applaud the increasing contributions of the Moldovan Army from their participation in multinational exercises at our training base in Germany, to their significant growth in peacekeeping, special forces, and EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] capabilities.  The Moldovans are proving they can operate above their weight class."


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