May 14, 1957 |
|Service/branch||Army of Lithuania|
|Years of service||1979 – present|
|Commands held||Chief of Defence of Lithuania
Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force
Commander of the Eastern Military District of the Lithuanian Armed Forces
Chief of Staff of Voluntary Service of National Defence
|Awards||Order of the Cross of Vytis
Medal of January 13
Medal of the Founders Volunteers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces
Commemorative Badge of Russian Army withdrawal from Lithuania
Medal of Merit of National Defence System
Lieutenant General Arvydas Pocius (born 14 May 1957) is the current Chief of Defence of Lithuania. During his military career, Pocius has held various positions, including Chief of Staff of Voluntary Service of National Defence, and Commander of the Lithuanian Land Force. Pocius was Lithuanian champion of freestyle wrestling in junior, youth and adult groups.
Pocius was born on 14 May 1957 in port city Klaipėda, Lithuania. In 1971 as a schoolboy he entered a free-style wrestling section and later became Lithuanian champion in junior, youth and adult groups.
In 1975 Pocius graduated from high school and started studies in Physical Education Academy. During the studies he actively participated in sports, especially in judo, Sambo and free-style wrestling. Pocius achieved the name of Honored Master of Sports of USSR (according to Sports Classification System of Soviet Union) in judo and free-style wrestling.
In 1979 he graduated from the Academy and worked as a coach of free-style wrestling, later judo.
In 1979 after graduation from reserve officer course in Kaliningrad District, USSR, he gained Soviet Army (SA) Mechanized infantry platoon leader qualification and was commissioned to the rank of lieutenant (Reserve).
In 1988 while working in Lithuanian Physical Culture and Sports Committee as chief coach of judo and Sambo, Pocius joined Freedom Movement “Sąjūdis” as a security guard in so called Green Armlet Group. He guarded leaders of “Sąjūdis” and ensured order during Freedom Movement demonstrations. On 16 February 1990 during the protest demonstration at the Supreme Council he officially resigned the rank of SA reserve officer and military oath. For this reason by the order of the defense minister of the USSR was down-graded to private (Reserve).
On 11 January 1991 Pocius swore an oath to the Republic of Lithuania in the Reconstituent Parliament. As a soldier-volunteer he defended Parliament of Lithuania during dramatic acts of Soviet aggression that caused deaths of Lithuanian people and serviceman in January and August 1991. In March 1991 he joined Voluntary Service of National Defence. On 30 December 1991 as Deputy Chief of Staff of Voluntary Service of National Defence Pocius was promoted to the rank of Major (Lithuanian Army).
In 1993 Pocius was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1994 Pocius was assigned as a commander of Voluntary Service of National Defence.
Pocius joined Command and General Staff Course, Bundeswehr Command Academy (Germany) in 1996. After graduation he was promoted to the rank of colonel and took over a position of Commander of National Defence Volunteer Service in 1998. Pocius was assigned to Command the Military District – East of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 2002.
In 2003–2004 Pocius studied at US Army War College and completed the course of strategic studies. On 30 June 2004 Arvydas Pocius was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and was assigned as a commander of the Lithuanian Land Forces.
In June 2007 Pocius graduated from Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science and gained master's degree in political science. In autumn of the same year Pocius was assigned as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (DACOS) of the Joint Education and Training Sub-Division at the NATO HQ Allied Command Transformation.
On 24 July 2009 Pocius was assigned as Chief of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania and was promoted to the rank of major general. On 28 July 2011 Pocius was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general.
Pocius during 20 years of service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces was awarded Order of the Cross of Vytis, Medal of January 13, Medal of the Founders Volunteers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Commemorative Badge of Russian Army withdrawal from Lithuania, Medal of Merit of National Defence System, etc.
Pocius is married to Namida, has a son Tadas and a daughter Akvilė. He is fond of fishing, hunting and sports; he is also interested in the history of Lithuanian warfare.
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