“To be a soldier one needs that special gene, that extra something, that enables a person to jump into one on one combat, something, after all, that is unimaginable to most of us, as we are simply not brave enough.” – Rupert Everett.
This cannot be any less true for our soldiers. On October 4th, AUA hosted a reception to welcome back our students who have recently come back from the military. Anahit Ordyan, the presenter of this event, congratulated the soldiers on their well being, thanked them for their service, and also thanked their parents for their patience and strength in the past two years.
Arman Vardanyan, who served in Stepanakert, first of all, thanked AUA for such an event, then talked about how hard the past two years were on our military, how afraid they were during the last April’s 4-day intense clashes on the border and how hard it was to get back to a normal routine after the two years were over. He also gave his condolences to the parents and families of those who lost their loved ones during the April clashes.
“Moving from the United States to here and then quickly being shipped off to the army was quite difficult. It was very confusing for me to get used to the culture from the other soldiers. It was also very hard for me to get used to the entire thing in general. I am so glad to be back.”
“I had a lot of difficulties getting used to the classes after coming back. But after a month, I had already gotten accustomed to the environment and everything worked out. The fact that the number of students had tripled from the last time I was here makes student life that much more fun and exciting.”
“Serving in Jabrail was a life changing experience. There were days where we would not have much food, so some of my fellow soldiers would hunt down snakes, cook them, and eat them. The first time they did this, I thought there is no way I would eat it as I found it disgusting. But there is only so much hunger I can take and I ate the snake in the end and I should say it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
When the war started, we did not have the chance to hunt and so when we had to go back to our base, we were not expecting there to be food or water for us, but there were food supplies waiting for us sent from citizens of Yerevan. Unfortunately there was not enough water, so we would have to use the water from the river close by. One of the soldiers had a small tank that was once filled with benzene and we had to use that to fill in the water. We could not drink it for days and whenever we drank it, it would make us sick because you could still taste the benzene. But after a while, we got used to it. When we were back, clean water tasted weird to us for a while. We are very grateful for all the help that we received from the public.We never expected such help from people. The help and the letters sent were the things that kept us motivated to get up and get back to the front line. It served as a reminder that there are people who are waiting for us to be back.
I have so many stories from my military service and even more stories of those few days in April. There was this one time when one of our subalterns and I had to guard at night, and while waiting for our turn to come, we were lying down in complete silence. All of a sudden there was a light from an unmanned aerial vehicle. We looked at it and thought that “aha, our end is here.” We waited and waited for them to attack us but they did not. After two hours we realized that the light from the vehicle was actually a star. We were so relieved. We laughed at how scared we were, and up till next few days, we were looking at “our star” as we called it. The worst stories are those that happened to a few of my friends that got killed during in April.”