On October 9, 2016, at 1 pm, the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center will host an event at the Lithuanian Museum of Art in the World Lithuanian Center in Lemont, IL, in which the former Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Major General Jonas Kronkaitis, will give the lecture “A Perspective on Lithuania’s Defense in a World in Peril.” A discussion will follow moderated by Paul Zumbakis.
Jonas Kronkaitis was born in Sirvintos, Lithuania. With the encroaching Soviet army, he withdrew from Lithuania in 1944, settled in Germany, and then moved to the US in 1949. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS in Industrial Management, simultaneously earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant, which was the beginning of his military career.
Kronkaitis returned to Lithuania in 1997, and in 1999 served as Lithuania’s Vice Minister of National Defense; he was responsible for the restructuring of the Lithuanian armed forces for effective integration into NATO.
In 1999, Kronkaitis received the rank of Brigadier General and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. In 2001, he was promoted to Major General. In 2004, he retired to the Reserve. As a reservist, he became active in the community and is one of the founders and chairmen of the Citizens’ Alliance.
Kronkaitis was awarded the Order of Vytautas the Great in 2003 in Lithuania. In the US, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and 14other decorations. He received the Order of Viesturs (Vesthardus Rex) by the President of Latvia, and the Order of the Eagle by the President of Estonia.
Kronkaitis’s wife Ruta Kronkaitienė was elected Chairwoman of the Lithuanian Grand Dutchess Birutė’s Union in 1999. In 2000, together with the European Christian Soldier Welfare House Organization, she founded the Christian Soldier Welfare House in Lithuania.