Ukraine defends the world

Gallery of Нeroes

Hero of the Soviet Union
Yaroslav Horoshko

Yaroslav Horoshko was born on Осtober 4, 1957, in the village of Borshchivka, Lanivetskyi district, Ternopil region in the family of teachers.

Yaroslav was studying successfully at school and had only “good” and “excellent” marks, especially he liked history and literature.

After the graduation from the secondary school, Yaroslav was trying to enter Khmelnytskyi Higher Artillery Command School, but he failed. After military conscription, on July 1977 Yaroslav entered the above-mentioned school and was studying successfully there. 

After the graduation from military school, he voluntarily submitted a report with the request to send him to serve in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

His destiny was such as he dreamt. Yaroslav served in elite Special Forces where the service was demanding and challenging, and it forced soldiers to act on the brink of resources.

Among the main tasks facing the Special Forces soldiers were an exposure and elimination of caravans with weapons and ammunition, as well as a struggle against insurgents’ detachments who acted in frontier areas. The fulfillment of these tasks was very tough owing to insurgents who were good prepared and armed, got the perfect knowledge about the terrain and were ready to kill “non-believers” 24/7.

During his stay in Afghanistan Captain Horoshko went through a very thorny way, impregnated with the blood and sweat. But he honorably withstood all the trials prepared by his fate, and in two years in the rank of captain he returned home. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Medal “For Bravery”.

After returning from Afghanistan, Yaroslav Horoshko was sent to undergo his further service to the town of Iziaslav, Khmelnytskyi region to the position of a platoon leader of special weapons. During his military service in Iziaslav, he established a reputation as a diligent and disciplined officer who paid great attention to combat and physical training of his platoon. A young commander was noticed at one of the events of special groups and was offered the position of commander of the Special Forces company in the city of Mariina Hirka (the Republic of Belarus).

In December 1986, Captain Horoshko went on service to Mariina Hirka. A year later his company became the best among the Special Forces companies of brigade.

From the recollections of Colonel Yurii Miklashevskyi, the former colleague of Yaroslav Horoshko: “… Regarding Yaroslav’s character I can say that, first of all, he was a strong-willed commander. He was always trying to be the first everywhere, even not in his favour. His family was in the background, unlike his service and work with the personnel – they were on the first place. …You may have met such people as “carved out of a stone”, I mean the character. Yaroslav Horoshko was such a man.”.

But Yaroslav Horoshko could not stay away when every day there were reports about the number of dead soldiers in Afghanistan. He felt that his military experience was needed to his state again. In January 1987, he voluntarily submitted a report with the request to send him to serve as a part of 40th Army.

For him it was enough that he had already been in Afghanistan. No one had a right to condemn him, because he had already performed his duty in full. But he had such a thorny fate. Serving the Motherland – is always personal life’s abandonment.

In February 1987, Yaroslav Horoshko was appointed to the position of company commander of 186th separate Special Forces detachment of 22nd separate Special Forces brigade of 40th Army in the Republic of Afghanistan.

Soldiers were respectful to Captain Horoshko who had an invaluable combat experience gained in over 40 combat raids, and, most importantly, trusted him for the obligation and integrity. Almost all his military campaigns were effective. However, a heavy concussion, a bloody battle near Duri kishlak and the Title of Hero of the Soviet Union was awaiting him further…

At night of October 31, 1987, the reconnaissance group under the command of Senior Lieutenant Oleh Onishchuk was attacked near Duri kishlak by a large group of insurgents and in the course of an unequal battle the group was almost killed.

When the question concerning the assistance to the Onishchuk’s group appeared, his friend Yaroslav Horoshko was immediately chosen.

In the morning of October 31, 1987, scouts under the command of Captain Horoshko flew to the aid of Onishchuk’s group.

From the submission to decoration for the battle near Duri kishlak of Yaroslav Horoshko: “Group led by Captain Horoshko came to the aid of Senior Lieutenant Onishchuk’s group, entered a fierce battle with rebels, who were much superior in number, destroyed more than two dozen rebels with fire and hand-to-hand fight, and took away from the battlefield the perished scouts from Onishchuk’s group”.

In February 1988, Captain Horoshko was awarded a second Order of the Red Star for participation in combat operations, fulfillment of special tasks, and on May 5, 1988, he was bestowed with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

In July 1988, Yaroslav Horoshko entered the Military Academy in Moscow. After the graduation from the Academy in 1991, he was offered a high position in Moscow with the possibility of a rapid promotion, but Yaroslav refused.

“I am a Ukrainian and want to return to serve in Ukraine,” he said to high-ranking officials in Moscow. His request was granted, he was directed to Iziaslav town to the position of separate Special Forces battalion commander.

In September 1993, the government commissioned him with a new, very responsible affair – to train Special Forces units of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine.

The commander was willed, tough, but fair. He was training new Ukrainian Special Forces the way that his long military experience prompted. Among his duties there was also training of combat swimmers, which is a special, quite specific line of work.

As a combat commander Yaroslav Horoshko did not have a right to drop behind his subordinates.

He used to be the best. Thus he paid special attention to the diving training and was constantly improving his skills.

On June 8, 1994, during one of the training sessions on diving, the Hero of the Soviet Union Lieutenant Colonel Horoshko tragically died.

Yaroslav Horoshko left two sons – Pavlo and Ivan. As their father dreamt, they both became officers. With honor and dignity the descendants of the Hero continued the glorious traditions to serve the Motherland.

The fact that Horoshko’s native school is named after him demonstrates a striking example that the memory of the real feats is immortal.

Traditionally, on the first of September during the solemnities there is a right provided the best students of the secondary school to be a part of the Honor Guard and lay flowers on the bas-relief of the hero. And the topic of the first lesson is “Learning patriotism, to be patriots of the Motherland, the way Yaroslav Horoshko was”.