Arshak Gambaryan and His Thirteen Friends

Arshak Gambaryan and His Thirteen FriendsThe roots of the Gambaryan family remained there, beyond Araks, in the plundered and desecrated cemeteries of Alashkert. Some branches of the family that miraculously survived the Turkish yatagan would settle in Aparan.

Arshak physically was a very strong man engaged in boxing from the second class. The Artsakh movement that had commenced on February 1988 brought him to the Freedom Square of Yerevan. And he seemed to have forgotten about the children and the young wife. He was already standing next to the soldiers, ready for the liberation struggle.

In February 1989, for active participation in the Karabakh movement, Arshak was arrested by a special investigative group of the USSR Procurator Office and imprisoned — first in Goris and then in Nubarashen. After being released, he delivered the first motorcade to Artsakh in September.

In January 1990, when the Azerbaijanis tried to reach the Ararat valley through Yeraskhavan, Arshak was one of the first who ruthlessly rushed to the call to save the homeland and arrived in Yeraskhavan. Together with our other heroes who were the first to stand up against the enemy – Movses Gorgisyan, Yervand Gharibyan, and others – he selflessly stood in the way of the enemy.

In the summer of 1992, the situation in Artsakh became critical. One by one, Shushi, Lachin, and other territories were surrendered. Thanks to foreign mercenaries, the enemy concentrated their forces and prepared a counterattack. When the battalion of suicide bombers formed, as always, Arshak Gambaryan and his younger brother Ghazar were among the first to volunteer.

Arshak for would arrive in Artsakh for the last time on January 22, 1994. His relatives and friends persuaded him to stay and restore his health badly spoiled by chronic malnutrition, lack of sleep, and war wounds. But Arshak was unshakable – his motherland was in danger, and any delay was tantamount to imminent death.

An Azeri major said: “When the battle was over and we approached their corpses, I ordered to pursue those who escaped and survived, because, according to our calculations, a perfectly equipped battalion was to fight with us. But the search was in vain: in the whole district, other soldiers or military equipment could not be found.”

On the night of April 22, 1994, 14 brave men from this detachment who liberated the village of Karmiravan of the Mardakert region got surrounded. Facing the well-armed and tens of times more powerful enemy than them, they fought to the death. All fourteen fought to the last bullet, went into hand-to-hand, and fell like heroes.

Motherland has not forgotten her hero sons. All of them have received the highest government awards. Boxing tournaments in memory of Arshak Gambaryan are held periodically. His children keep their father’s awards as sacred relics, including the Battle Cross of Armenia and Artsakh. On the example of Arshak Gambaryan and his 13 selfless hero friends, new generations are being brought up…

The 14 guys from the Shengavit detachment were buried in Yerablur military cemetery in Yerevan.

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