History teaches us that those nations are secure and states viable who have a disciplined and efficient army. The creation of a national army lay in the basis of the statehood of the first Republic of Armenia as well. During the two and a half years of independence, we had four military ministers: General Hovhannes Hakhverdyan (1873-1937), Major-General Christapor Araratyan (1876-1937), Ruben Ter Minasyan (1882-1951), and Drastamat Kanayan (Dro) (1883-1956). In January 1920, the quantity of the Republic’s army reached 25 thousand; in the autumn, during the Turkish-Armenian war, it was about 40 thousand, among them 33 generals and more than 2000 officers. They built a military airport in Kars, where the first planes brought from France were stationed, and in September 1920, they tested the warship “Ashot Yerkat” in Lake Sevan.
On May 26, 1919, upon the decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, the Order for “Services to the Motherland” was approved, and on June 2 – the orders of “St. Vardan Zoravar” and “Great Trdat.”
After the fall of the First Republic, Armenians continued to develop military traditions in the Soviet Army, making a significant contribution to World War II (1939-1945) in the armies and guerrilla detachments of the USSR, the United States, France, and other allied countries. Several Armenian divisions, formed in the first period of the war, had their undeniable contribution to the defeat of the Nazi Germany: the 76th Mountain Division, the 408th, 409th, 89th, 390th, and 261st Rifle Divisions. The 89th Tamanyan Division, commanded by Nver Safaryan, was the only national division to take part in the Battle of Berlin. One hundred and nine Armenians and ten people of the national minorities from Armenia received the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Marshals Hovhannes Baghramyan, Hovhannes Isakov, Hamazasp Babajanyan, Armenak Khamperyants, Sergey Aganov, the generals, and the knights of the three orders of Glory, who went through the war are the pride of the Armenian people.
Months after Armenia’s independence, on January 28, 1992, the Government of the Republic of Armenia adopted a decision “On the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Armenia,” thus announcing the establishment of the Armenian National Army. The Patrol Regiment of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Special Operative Regiment, the Civil Defense Regiment, and the Republican Military Commissariat came under the subordination of the Ministry.
On December 5, 1991, Vazgen Sargsyan was appointed RA Minister of Defense. On May 28, 1992, the staff of the newly formed military units took the solemn oath in the Republic Square. The involvement of highly qualified specialists who had previously served in the Soviet army, such as A. Ter-Tadevosyan, C. Ivanyan, G. Daribaltayan, N. Ter-Grigoryants, and many others was significant in army-building. Hundreds of Armenian officers who had previously served in various Soviet military units returned to Armenia. Minister of Defense Vazgen Sargsyan and his successors played a significant role in creating the Armenian national army. Later, there opened a higher school for officer training. M. Melkonyan, S. Babayan, L. Azgaldyan, J. Sefilyan, P. Ghevondyan, A. Ghulyan, G. Stepanyan, Gharibyan and many other devotees played a great role in army-building and in the victory of the Artsakh liberation war. In fact, the Armenian army, formed along with restoring our independent statehood, was its most significant achievement.