Liberator soldier: Monte Melkonian never considered possibility of retreat

Even lack of military education didn’t prevent Monte Melkonian from proving to be an excellent commander, according to Karabakh war hero, Major General Arkady Ter-Tadevosyan.
As the legendary Commandos told a news conference organised in commemoration of 19th death anniversary of Armenia’s National Hero Monte Melkonian, he met Melkonian in February 1992, when in search of a commander to lead Martuni detachment and unite all the others in a struggle for survival. “Monte discharged his duties honorably,” Commandos stressed.
When asked if the victory in Karabakh war would have been possible without his and Melkonyan’s involvement, Commandos replied in the affirmative. “Of course, we’d win. The victory belongs to people. There could have been other people instead of us to lead them to a victory,” he stressed.
A liberator soldier Vahe Shahmuradyan who’s served under Melkonian’s command, said the commander never considered the possibility of a retreat, always serving as an example for those who followed him.
Hero of Karabakh war Monte Melkonyan (Avo) could have celebrated his 54th birthday on November 25.
Monte Melkonyan was born on November 25, 1957 in Varselia (a town not far from Frezno), California. In 1969, his family moved to Spain. After leaving school, Monte left for Turkey to see his ancestors’ lands. Later he moved to Lebanon. Upon his return to United States, Monte entered Berkley Universit, to specialize in archaeology and Asian history. After internship in Japan he worked as a teacher in the Armenian schools of Iran and Lebanon (beginning 1957). Monte Melkonyan knew 7 languages, and had the degree of Associate Professor of History.
In the 1970s, Monte Melkonyan took part in Lebanese Civil war. In spring 1980, he joined ASALA. Monte planned and organized the seizure of Turkish Embassy in France (known as Van operation) and several other operations against Turkish representative offices in European states. While ASALA member, he took part in the assassinations of several Turkish diplomats in Europe during the early to mid-1980s and was later arrested and sent to prison in France. In 1989, he was released and in the following year, acquired a visa to travel to Armenia.
Throughout his tenure, Melkonian carried several different aliases including “Abu Sindi”, “Saro”, “Timothy Sean McCormack” and “Commander Avo”; the last of which was the name addressed by troops under his command in Nagorno-Karabakh.
One of the outstanding, talented and experienced commanders, Monte Melkonyan died in strange circumstances on June 12 1993 in Marzilu village. He is revered by Armenians as a national hero.

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