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On Friday, January 8, 2011 COL Charles C. Lucas, Commandant of the Veteran Corps of Artillery-State of New York presented CPT Morten Marott of the Royal Danish Army Reserves Queen’s Artillery Regiment with an Honorary Membership in the Veteran Corps of Artillery-State of New York. The presentation was made at the 221st Annual VCA Mess Dinner held at Noble House in Lower Manhattan. Noble House is a historical building in what is NYC’s historical district and home to other historical buildings such as Fraunces Tavern. In addition to the presentation of the honorary membership to CPT Marott the VCA was honored to have as guest speakers for the evening, David Rohde and his wife Kristen Mulhivill.
CPT Morten Marott of the Royal Danish Army Reserves Queen’s Artillery Regiment is a highly decorated Danish Military officer with extensive experience both domestically and internationally. Internationally, he served in Croatia in 1995 with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPROFOR) as Captain, Liaison Officer and Operations Officer of the Danish UN Battalion. In August, 1995, while in the war zone in Croatia, CPT Marott successfully led a group of eleven other stranded UN peacekeepers through the ordeals of the hotspot of the conflict during the week-long Croatian attack on and bombardment of the area. During his service with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces (UNPROFOR) CPT Marott conducted several negotiations with armed Croatian and Serbian commanders and war lords.
Domestically, in Denmark, CPT Marott was Commander of an Air Defense Missile Battery mobilization unit in the Royal Danish Army Reserves Queen’s Artillery Regiment. As Commander, CPT Marott was responsible for seventy two troops including six other officers and a large inventory of weapons, vehicles and high tech equipment.
The evening’s guest speaker, David Rohde, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his work on the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and covering Afghanistan and Pakistan, is a War Correspondent and author. He has covered the war in Afghanistan for the New York Times since 2001. In November 2008, en route to meet with a well-known al-Qaeda commander at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, Rohde was kidnapped. He was eventually taken over the border into a stronghold in the mountains of Pakistan. While in captivity, as you might expect, Rhode had the opportunity to converse with his captors often. Those talks helped him develop a strong understanding of his captors’ political positions and their thinking. Held by the Taliban in hopes of reaping major ransom money, they nicknamed Rohde “Golden Rooster.” It took him and his interpreter seven months to engineer their daring escape. Rohde shared his experiences as a captive of the Taliban, how he maintained his edge during seven months in captivity and the details of his escape with the VCA Mess Dinner guests. Rhode’s book, A Rope and A Prayer, written with his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, delves into that harrowing experience in great detail.
The Veteran Corps of Artillery, State of New York, is the senior active military unit in the Empire State. It was originally raised in 1790 to defend the harbor of New York City. Although today, its duties are largely ceremonial, it continues to provide a firing battery for the annual salute to the nation held on the 4th of July at Battery Park in New York City. Additional information about the storied past and current activities of the VCA is available at: blog.vcasny.org and www.vca1790.org.
By: LTC. Allen I. Milman
PAOIC VCA SNY