On October 28, 2023, President Petr Pavel appointed 16 men to the rank of general in a ceremony held at Prague Castle. Among them were former chief of intelligence operations BIS Petr Špaček and the first deputy director of the General Directorate of Prisons, David Chovanec. The president emphasized the importance of generals being prepared to offer advice that may not always be sought or well-received.
The appointment of new generals at Prague Castle is a traditional part of the celebrations for the Day of the Establishment of the Independent Czechoslovak State, culminating in the evening with the presentation of state honors.
Some of those promoted include Chief of the Military Police Jiří Roček, Director of Prague Police Petr Matějček, Deputy Director-General of the Fire Rescue Corps Petr Ošlejšek, and directors of two prisons.
In his speech, President Pavel, a former soldier, acknowledged the challenges and dedication required to reach such a milestone: “I have had several opportunities to stand by your side in the past, and therefore, I know what it takes before one reaches this event.” President Pavel retired with the rank of army general.
He emphasized that the rank of general is not given based on fame but on performance and meeting all the required conditions. President Pavel stated, “The fact that you have fulfilled these conditions means that you are at the figurative peaks of your pyramids.” However, he also emphasized that extraordinary demands will be placed on the newly appointed generals, including the expectation that they provide advice that may not always be requested or well-received.
It was also announced that Deputy Director-General of the Fire Brigade Petr Ošlejšek has been promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He is responsible for the integrated rescue system and operational management, serving as a liaison officer for firefighters during international rescue operations. He has participated in several foreign missions, including the delivery of humanitarian aid to Iran in 2019.
President Pavel also promoted the director of the prison in Stráž pod Ralskem, Ladislav Blahník, and the director of the Detention Prison and Secure Detention Facility in Brno, Dušan Gáča, to the rank of brigadier general. Other individuals promoted to brigadier general include the first deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Prisons, David Chovanec, Deputy Police President for Economics Jaromír Bischof, and Director of Prague Police Petr Matějček.