People outstanding and charismatic, visionaries and precursors who change the face of the Polish Armed Forces with their work and ideas. This – in short – characterizes all Buzdygany Winners, who during the past 29 years won the prize awarded by Polska Zbrojna.
For over three decades, Buzdygany were awarded to almost 250 winners: pilots, marines, special and land forces soldiers, veterans of foreign missions, diplomats. The replica of the 16-century mace, which was the sign of rotamaster rank, would go to the hands of individual soldiers or all corps – from privates to generals. Among the winners, there were also civilians – scientists, journalists and sportsmen, and also the representatives of the highest state authorities. Regardless of their background, we can say that all Buzdygany Winners shared the same features: they were passionate, visionary, extremely hardworking and charismatic. They were people who set new standards and thus changed military reality.
The Awardees Give Awards
How did it start? The history of Buzdygany dates as far back as 1994. Editor-in-Chief of Żołnierz Polski, and later of Polska Zbrojna weekly, Ireneusz Czyżewski, celebrating 75 years of magazine’s existence, had this idea to somehow honor those who are exceptional and excel in their military service. Nobody could ever imagine at the time that it was the beginning of a new tradition. Despite continuous changes in the army, Buzdygan has been awarded incessantly for 29 years to those who particularly contributed to the growth of the Polish Armed Forces.
Each year, the members of the board (in Polish: Kapituła), which consists of last-year Buzdygany Winners and the representatives of Polska Zbrojna editorial office, gather together to choose the best of the best. The military Oscar, as Buzdygany are popularly called, is awarded as a result of extremely stormy voting. “This award is not objective at all, and I think it shouldn’t be, and it is unthinkable to compare the achievements of other nominees. Our goal is to discover the true pearls and present them in the light of day, not only from among army personnel, but also civilians, and to appreciate the contribution of people whose passion, ambitions and devotion to their Homeland are worthy of imitation,” says Izabela Borańska-Chmielewska, Director of Military Publishing Institute (WIW, Wojskowy Instytut Wydawniczy) and the Editor-in-Chief of Polska Zbrojna.
Despite the passing of time, neither the rank of the prize or the form of awarding it has changed. Buzdygan is the object of desire for many, but only a few can get it. The nominees can be nominated by the commanders of the military units at various levels. Then, the board of the last-year Winners and the representatives of Polska Zbrojna editorial office selects the best of the best.
In the history of this award, there have been absolutely special and touching moments. Such was the situation in 2014, when during the Buzdygany Gala the awarded soldier of the Commando Special Forces Group (JWK – Jednostka Wojskowa Komandosów) handed his prize to the Warsaw Uprising paramedic, Halina ‘Sławka’ Jędrzejewska. Or, when in 2016 the board posthumously awarded the prize to Major General Janusz ‘Gryf’ Brochwicz-Lewiński, the participant of Warsaw Uprising, a soldier of the ‘Parasol Home Army Battalion and legendary defender of Michler’s Palace in Wola (Warsaw’s district).
“For me, the most important was the moment of receiving the Buzdygany Award. The most precious for me is the fact that it gave me incredible power to award more people,” after the board’s meeting said General Wiesław Kukuła, General Commander of the Branches of the Polish Armed Forces and the Buzdygany 2021 Winner. He emphasized the exceptionality of this award, which is not a summary of a soldier’s military service nor any distinction for a heroic deed. “For me, this prize is for someone who sets standards and implements new solutions in the armed forces,” he said. “The choice was extremely difficult, because there are many exceptional people related to national defense and service in the Polish Armed Forces. These are people, whose activities are far beyond the scope of their duties,” said Tomasz Zdzikot, the President of the Management Board of KGHM Polska Miedź, the last-year Buzdygany Winner. He also admitted that many resumes of the candidates for the Buzdygany Awards were remarkable: “Absolutely fantastic people. While I was reading about them, I thought many of these descriptions would make a script for a great movie.”
This Year’s Winners
After many hours of debating at the 29th seating of the Buzdygany board, six persons were selected from among several dozen applications. For the achievements in 2022 the Buzdygany Award goes to: Col (Res) Paweł Dziuba, Director of Cyber Security Training Center of Excellence (ECSC) and Agnieszka Glapiak, PhD, a former Director of MoND Operational Center, currently Social Advisor to the Polish Minister of National Defense and Vice-President of National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). Other Buzdygany Awardees are: Sgt Tomasz Rożniatowski, a soldier at the Central Military Sports Team (CWZS); Rear-Admiral Professor Tomasz Szubrycht, PhD, DSc, Rector-Commandant of Polish Naval Academy (AMW); LtCol Paweł Wronka, Chief of Staff of the Commando Special Forces Group; and 2ndLt Damian Pietrasik, officer of the Territorial Defense Forces.
Each year, the Buzdygany Winners tell us about their great emotions and excitement, which they experience when they are accepting the awards. They also talk about the related to it sense of responsibility. Lt (N) Pilot Sebastian Bąbel said ten years ago: “It’s relatively easy to get the Buzdygan, but to prove every day that you actually deserve it is much more difficult.”
Buzdygan Award is timeless, and for that reason we are certain that in the upcoming years there will always be worthful people to earn this prize.
autor zdjęć: st. chor. sztab. mar. Arkadiusz Dwulatek/ Combat Camera DORSZ