In 2022, Mil-Coffee and Militaryshop.lv joined forces in an amazing collaboration to draw attention to the inspiring stories of army veterans.
For a very long time we wanted to make such a project and tell people about those whom they notice in life most often only in military uniform, at parades, exercises, during military operations. But all these people have their own very amazing story, how they got into the service, what difficulties they went through, what conclusions they made after the end of the service.
And now, on November 1, 2022, our YouTube videos have turned from a dream into reality and now serve as a platform for veterans of the Latvian army, where we can all get to know them better and give them the opportunity to tell their own, special, story.
The videos are filled with important details, ranging from tales of harrowing combat experiences to reflections on personal growth and resilience. These stories provide valuable information for viewers from all walks of life.
We wanted Ziedonis Ločmelis to become the first guest of our channel.
Ziedonis Ločmelis was born in Auce and started his schooling at Bēne elementary school. Has been in active military service since 1993. He served in the NBS Special Tasks Unit, worked in the Land Forces and the National Guard. During his military career, he participated in several international peacekeeping missions as part of the Latvian contingent. Suffered a bullet wound on a mission in Iraq on his 38th birthday. Worked in the private sector as a bodyguard for several years. Lochmelis also worked as a civilian employee of the NBS, as well as very actively participated in the training of young guards as an instructor.
Ziedonis Ločmelis starred in more than 40 Latvian and foreign films, Ziedonis Ločmelis wrote poetry and forged medieval weapons and ornaments.
His metal creations were also used in the Latvian feature film "Nameja ring". For his role in the domestic film "Jimlai Rūdi Rallalla", the actor won the cinema award "Lielais Kristaps" in the category: best actor in a supporting role.
But it so happened that we did not have time to shoot the issue with him, on October 31, 2021, to our great regret, he passed away, and we will always remember him as a wonderful person, a professional in his field and our dear friend.
Heroes of issues that you can already watch:
Army Veterans S01 E02 | Janis Lakis Infantry Veteran
The combat baggage of retired senior sergeant Janis Lakis includes seven international operations, one of which – in Afghanistan in 2009 - could have been fatal. Exactly on October 3 of the same year, J. Lakis and Corporal Mārtiņš Daboliņš, who served in the second Advisory Group for Operational Cooperation, together with the soldiers of Bravo Company, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment of the United States, took part in one of the most difficult combat operations. and the longest fighting against Taliban fighters. The film “Priekšpostenis” was made about this heroic battle and premiered in Latvian cinemas on July 24, 2020. Meanwhile, senior sergeant Lakis himself admits that the price of this battle was high for him personally, and in order to survive emotional experiences, time needed willpower. However, without a moment's hesitation, he adds that he has always been and will be proud to be a soldier of the Latvian army.
Army Veterans S01 E03 | Raivis Usackis Former Latvian Army Captain
Raivis Usackis began his career as a soldier in 1996, entering the National Defense Academy. At the beginning of the new millennium, Raivis commanded the Latvian contingent in Kosovo, later in Afghanistan, in 2006 he was responsible for security measures at the NATO summit in Riga. But retired from active service in 2010.
Now he is a FIBA-licensed basketball agent with his agency Prime Athlete Management, which helps basketball players build a career in both Latvian and foreign teams.
Raivis Usackis, author of the song Latvian soldier. Raivis also wrote his first book ”Let’s play! Latvian story. Here is what he himself says about its creation:
“I never met anyone of my grandfathers. There is no record of their memories. Lifetime is long, but life can be so short!
After my thirties birthday I realize that the most valuable part of the life is to left behind something emotional which is not a property, a car or other material things, but nice memories.
Every day of my life I see like a game. I was playing with my life in army in some situations, sport, quitar all this we can call gambling because if you like life and like people around, you playing every day!
Each person’s life is the one great book, which needs to be opened and read in order to develop emotions.”
Army Veterans S01 E01 | Andris Raiskums SOF Veteran
Andris Raiskums, a SSO veteran who has spent most of his life on active duty, is now a shooting instructor and takes part in shooting competitions.
Now we are working to ensure that in the future you will be able to see even more interesting stories of Latvian army veterans, NATO veterans and possibly army veterans from other countries, as in this way we will all be able to share military and life experiences with each other.
We hope you enjoy our project, and you will also support us and leave your feedback about our work.