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Latvian president bestows national honor on Harnitchek 
5/8/2013 
By DLA Public Affairs 

Defense Logistics Agency Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek received one of the Latvian government’s highest honors in the capital, Riga, May 4 as part of the country’s independence day celebrations.

Latvian President Andris Bērziņš presented Harnitchek with the Order of Viesturs – Second Class to recognize his and DLA’s involvement in establishing cooperation and support for non-military cargo transit into and out of Afghanistan. As a result of these efforts, Riga has become more of a true “multimodal” port, meaning goods can pass through via road, inland shipping and maritime transport, DLA officials said.

Harnitchek thanked Bērziņš for the honor.

 

“Our partnership with the Latvian people is strong, and we continue to have a common goal to help establish peace and security in the region,” he said, according to prepared remarks. “I appreciate the historical importance of this award on this momentous day and am humbled and accept this on behalf of DLA.”

 

U.S. Transportation Command Commander Air Force Gen. William Fraser received the Order of Viesturs – First Class at the event.

Before the awards ceremony, Fraser and Harnitchek reviewed a military parade in Kuldiga, about 90 miles outside the capital, as part of the 23rd anniversary of the Declaration of the Renewal of Independence of the Republic of Latvia. Latvia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

The Order of Viesturs is named in honor of King Viesturs, ruler of Latvia in the early 13th century. He resisted German incursions and became a symbol of Latvian independence. The order was suppressed after the Soviet occupation of 1940 but was re-established in 2004 in the Republic of Latvia.

Group photo
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DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek (right) and U.S. Transportation Command Commander Air Force Gen. William Fraser (left) pose for a photo with Mark Pekala, U.S. ambassador to Latvia; USTRANSCOM Deputy Commander Navy Rear Adm. Andy Brown; and Latvian Chief of Defense Lt. Gen. Raimonds Graube before reviewing a parade in Kuldiga, Latvia, commemorating the country’s independence.
Photo: Award presentation
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DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek poses for a photo with Latvian President Andris Bērziņš May 4 after receiving the Order of Viesturs – Second Class for establishing cooperation and support for non-military cargo transit into and out of Afghanistan.
Photo: Speaking after award presentation
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DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek thanks Latvian President Andris Bērziņš for the Order of Viesturs – Second Class on behalf of DLA.