He said: avoiding NATO being drawn into the war is what we are playing for. “Trust is fundamental”
Agresor – this was the name of the garage metal band in which young Rajmund Andrzejczak played bass in the 1980s, before he went to officer school. Throughout his 37-year career in the army, he prepared to fight an external aggressor. He achieved the highest position and rank of general that can be achieved in Poland in times of peace. However, he could not stand the signals of distrust from his own superior, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak. – Trust is a fundamental issue – the general once said publicly in the presence of the minister.
This week, Rajmund Tomasz Andrzejczak said goodbye to the position of Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army, the highest in the hierarchy of the armed forces, commonly called the “first soldier”. He will be 56 at the end of December. A month later, on the retirement date favored by Polish uniformed officers (because it is the most financially advantageous), he will probably say goodbye to the uniform. And without it he looks like a thoroughbred soldier: tall, slim, athletic. Shaved skull and face; if a mustache, it’s very short. A signet ring on the finger.
It wasn’t always like this. In his youth, he wore longer hair and played music in the garage metal band Agresor. – As a bassist in this band, I played Iron Maiden songs “in the role” of Steve Harris (Maiden’s bassist – ed.), which was extremely difficult, but turned out to be possible – he told the ministry’s magazine “Polska Zbrojna”. In turn, “Gazeta Wyborcza” once allowed the publication of a private photo from an Iron Maiden concert, which he attended with his daughters who were then growing up.
Already as a general, Andrzejczak’s official CV included Iron Maiden among his favorite bands, along with Dream Theater, and listed playing the bass as his hobby (along with military history and modeling). In 2017, his subordinates prepared signs with the inscription “R-Force One” in the same font as the Iron Maiden logo. They placed it on the Rosomak wheeled armored personnel carrier, which served the general as a command vehicle in the 12th Mechanized Division. Andrzejczak accepted the idea.
This is not a coincidence. The above-mentioned Steve Harris is the leader, author of most of the lyrics and a large part of the music performed by Iron Maiden. He has a rather tough grip on his teammates, which is why he earned nicknames such as captain and senior sergeant. Harris’s lyrics repeatedly told about historical events – wars (for example, “The Trooper”), conquests (“Run to the Hills”), battles (“Aces High”), warlords (“Alexander the Great”), and even war films ( “Where Eagles Dare”, which is the original title of the work that was shown in Polish cinemas as “Only for Eagles”).
Iron Maiden gained the status of a global star, and today it is a metal legend and still gives concerts. There are no traces of the Agresor group even in the Polish Rock Archive. – Years later, this band was quite well known in my hometown – assured Andrzejczak, born in Świdnica.
Recently, the general has revealed himself more widely as a talented graphic designer. In February, he donated a hand-made drawing to the son of a soldier suffering from SMA, which depicts – of course – a wax Wolverine.
However, Andrzejczak’s calling turned out to be the army. His career, subsequent positions held and tasks performed were described in detail in the text that was published on Tuesday, the day he was dismissed from his position.
Here we will only remind you of the most important points:
- he started as a cadet at the Armored Military Academy in Poznań. The university no longer exists, but its graduates most often held the highest positions in the Polish Army;
- at the turn of the 1990s and 2000s, he served in the Polish-Lithuanian Peacekeeping Forces Battalion (he was chief of staff there, then deputy commander) – at that time the unit was the showcase of the entire armed forces;
- in the UN peacekeeping mission on the Golan Heights (UNDOF) he commanded a battalion-sized Polish military contingent (2004-05), then in Iraq he was at the headquarters of an international division commanded by Poles;
- in Afghanistan, as a colonel, he commanded two successive shifts of the Polish contingent, from October 2008 to October 2009. There is no other officer like him;
- under his command (2012-2014) the 17th Greater Poland Mechanized Brigade was certified and served as the core of the European Union battle group;
- in 2016-18, she commanded the 12th Mechanized Division in Szczecin.
And what has happened in recent years? And what ultimately led to General Rajmund Andrzejczak resigning from the position of Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Army a few days ago?
Read more after logging in
Get access to premium content free and without ads