A retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Croatian Armed Forces and the Croatian Air Force who risked his life to transport a fighter jet to Croatia during the Homeland War, was honoured during the week, the Office of the President said.
Croatian president Zoran Milanović bestowed the Order of Duke Domagoj with Ribbon upon Lieutenant Colonel Danijel Borović (retd) of the Croatian Armed Forces for bravery and heroism displayed in the Homeland War.
The president said that the name of the retired Lieutenant Colonel, who was the first man to bring into Croatia’s possession and under its ownership a supersonic fighter jet, should be more known.
“Danijel Borović, A Lieutenant Colonel of the Croatian Armed Forces and the Croatian Air Force, is the first man to bring into Croatia’s possession and under its ownership a supersonic fighter jet,” President Milanović said, mentioning the pilot Rudolf Perešin, who had previously flown a fighter jet over the border.
“You landed at Pula Airport in the dark, after perilously, skilfully and heroically separating from a fighter jet formation. You landed that MIG on Croatian soil, in the darkness of a wintry Istria, with the light of several truck headlights, placing it under the ownership and functional use of the Croatian Armed Forces and the Croatian Air Force, which was only then being formed,” President Milanović told those present, stressing that this was a great heroic act.
President Milanović said what It was Borović done was very significant, visible and bold way of strengthening morale in Croatia.
“The awareness, courage and conviction that we are all one and that there are people who are willing to take risks. They have congratulated you many times, and I thank you.”
President Milanović added that in his opinion such awards should have been presented even earlier and hat Borović and three other pilots, who handed over fighter jets from the former Yugoslav People’s Army, were also deprived of their ranks.
“Many ask me why it was like that, why that was ignored, including the promotions. There were four pilots who took four supersonic MIG 21 fighter jets from the former Yugoslav Army. None of us became generals and at least one of us should have, if not two of us. That is a fact that will, I hope, be corrected one day,” said Lieutenant Colonel Borović.
“No matter how disappointed we were because of what was happening to us, my wife and I still managed to write this story as the authors of the book “Prelet za Hrvatsku” [Flyover for Croatia], which can serve as a historical document,” Lieutenant Colonel Borović said, expressing gratitude for the support of the Plitvice Lakes Veterans’ Association, Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved and former Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, who, as he put it, encouraged him in 2017 to tell his story because it is about a significant event that should be marked.
President Milanović decorated Lieutenant Colonel Danijel Borović (retd) on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the “Flyover for Croatia,” which was undertaken by Lieutenant Colonel Borović on 4 February 1992 when he piloted a MIG 21 fighter jet from Bihać Airport to Pula, making himself available to the Croatian Armed Forces. As a result of his venture, Croatia acquired its first supersonic fighter jet.