The First Conscripts of the Croatian Army

The first soldiers conscripted into the Croatian Army took their solemn oaths on 8 December 1991 in the port of Ploče.

Following an order by Commander Admiral Sveto Letica issued on 28 September 1991, the first unit comprised of conscripts to the Croatian Army was established on 5 October 5, 1991 as the 1st Company of the Naval–Amphibious Infantry of the Croatian Army, that is, the Croatian Navy at the War Port in Ploče. The unit was made up of 48 recruits from ​​the municipality of Ploče born between 1971-1973.

The key component of the new unit was the platoon of the intervention company of the National Defense from which the first unit of the Military Police of the Croatian Navy were formed under Commander Denis Jelčić. Ensign Vlaho Orepić was appointed the first commander while platoon commanders were Željko Matković, Martin Nikolac and Željko Matković Galac.

The newly established unit was located in the “Anchorage” barracks, blessed in early October by Don Petar Mikić, parish priest of Ploče. Interestingly, this was the first barracks blessed in the Republic of Croatia. Over 10 months of military service, members of this unit conducted training, secured conquered warehouses and facilities and performed other tasks during which unit member Zvonko Dropulić was tragically killed on 4 November 1991 in the War Port of Ploče. The young man would not join his comrades in taking the solemn oath on 8 December 1991.

During the war year 1992, the unit operated on the Southern battlefront from Šipan and Ston to Bistrina. After completing their military service on 4 August 1992, the first Croatian conscripts continued to defend their homeland in reserve and professional units of the Croatian Army and many of them remained in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia even after the war’s end.

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