YEREVAN—The Armenian Youth Federation’s (AYF) ‘With Our Soldiers’ (WOS) campaign has been conducting visits to the families of fallen soldiers from Yerevan during the month of November. The Pilibos and Mesrobian Armenian school students visited the families of fallen heroes in the capital in the summer, and a few other families were assisted by the AYF in spring, in the aftermath of the Four Day War. In early November, the WOS campaign completed the visits to the homes of the fallen servicemen and volunteers from Yerevan, and the biographies of all of the soldiers (not reported in earlier press releases) are presented below along with the receipts obtained during the meetings with the parents, spouses, and children of our fallen heroes.
As in the past, the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign allocated $1,000 to the family of each fallen soldier and another $250 for each child in the family. The total amount of funds provided during this phase of the visits to the eleven families was $12,250 (the amount excludes the payments to the families which were reported in earlier press releases).
Robert Abajyan (b. 1996) last called his family on April 1st, in order to wish a happy birthday to his father. Later that day, he went up to the front lines to defend the same position (Number 16, near Martakert) that Andranik Zohrabyan, Armenak Urfanyan and Kyaram Sloyan were protecting. On the night of April 2nd, more than 200 enemy soldiers attacked the Armenian position near Martakert. Dozens of Azeris were destroyed by the soldiers under Armenak Urfanyan’s command, and the enemy was repelled three times during that night. However, the Azeris continued to bombard the trenches and attack the Armenian side. After Urfanyan and Sloyan were killed by Azeri fire, Robert Abajyan took the command of the defense, determined to stand until his last breath. Robert could have escaped the position and saved his life (he had been wounded), but he tried to save the life of another wounded soldier, Andranik Zohrabyan, instead. At some point during the battle, after Andranik had already died, Robert ran out of bullets, and the only thing he had left was a grenade. Having overcome the Armenian resistance, the enemy finally entered the trenches, only to find the wounded Robert Abajyan, who blew up the grenade in his hand, killing himself and a dozen enemy soldiers. For his heroic actions, Robert Abajyan was posthumously awarded the title of the Hero of Artsakh, becoming the youngest bearer of that honor in the history of independent Artsakh. Abajayan was described as a humorous, active, and lively young man by friends and family. He was known for his love of cars and high speeds. He had studied at a local college prior to entering the Army and planned to return, finish his degree and become a dentist. Robert’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Robert:
Artur Avetisyan (b. 1962) went to the front lines as a volunteer during the Artsakh Liberation Movement. He fought in the ranks of the Tigran Metz volunteer unit, and joined the Yerkrapah Union after his return from the front lines in 1994. Artur was wounded during the first war, but that did not stop him from going to Artsakh when the Four Day War broke out. While in Artsakh, Artur suffered a heart attack and died in the trenches near Jrakan (Jabrail) on April 19th. Artur left behind his wife, Ashkhen, and their 8-year old daughter, Diana. Artur’s family was given $1,250 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Artur Avetisyan by clicking here.
Manvel Gevorgyan (b. 1997) was one of two children in the family of Naira and Armen Gevorgyan. Having completed high school in the capital (2014), the young man was admitted into the Yerevan State Institute of Physical Culture to further his interest in martial arts. Manvel had been a professional karate fighter and was the 2006 European champion. Manvel Gevorgyan entered military service on July 7, 2015, and soon became a Junior Sergeant, a testament to his hard work and commitment. He participated in the Four Day War and was on the front lines during the fighting. On April 14, 2016, Manvel and another soldier were stationed at one of the military positions when they were attacked by a group of more than 30 Azeri invaders. Manvel fought until the last bullet, but was ultimately killed by enemy fire. The commanders stated that if the Azeris were able to take the position Manvel was defending, the Armenian side would have had many more losses. Manvel was a leader by nature and had to be first in everything. He was described as an active, energetic, and humorous young man, who excelled in academics and sports alike. Manvel’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Manvel Gevrogyan:
Gevorg Harutyunyan (b. 1996) left for the Army immediately after his 18th birthday in November of 2014. Described as a humorous and active young man, Gevorg loved military service and had only a few months left to return home. On the night of August 2nd, after yet another Azeri attack against the Armenian positions near Akna (Aghdam), Gevorg, along with four other servicemen, rushed to get a wounded friend from a mined area on the line of contact. Having survived the Four Day War, Gevorg died from a mine explosion while trying to save a fellow serviceman. Gevorg was described as humorous, friendly, and ready to go to great lengths for his friends. He was the only child of his parents, Anahit and Artur Harutyunyan. Gevorg’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Gevorg Harutyunyan:
Grigor Harutyunyan’s (b. 1997) father, Gevork, had lost his home and both of his parents during the earthquake in Gyumri (1988) and his family had been living in a rental house in Yerevan since then. When Gevork passed away (2003), Grigor, his mother (Anahit), and his three siblings wound up in the streets until local officials in Yerevan helped them find a dilapidated rental apartment. Grigor Harutyunyan was named after his paternal uncle, who had lost his life during the Artsakh Liberation Struggle. Prior to joining the Army, Grigor was studying to be a chef, having left school early (8th grade) to work and help his mother make ends meet. When his military service began, the young man was stationed near Jrakan (Jabrail) and was a sniper for one of the local Army units. Grigor’s mother, Anahit, last spoke to her son on March 31st, and on the night he was killed (April 2nd), she had a dream where Grigor was calling her for help. She received the news of her son’s death soon after. In the aftermath of Grigor’s death, his family received a new house from the Yerevan City Council (June, 2016). Grigor’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Grigor Harutyunyan:
Ruben Iskandaryan (b. 1993) had only three months left until the completion of his military service, but lost his life during the fighting on the Azeri-Artsakh border on the night of April 2nd. He was a patriotic young man, and served with honor, earning the title of a Junior Sergeant. Described as a calm, modest, and intelligent individual by his neighbors and teachers, Ruben was a graduate of the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University (2014), where he was majoring in tourism and hospitality studies. He was an excellent student, praised by school teachers and university professors alike. On June 23, 2016, which would have been Ruben’s 23rd birthday, a special exhibit was opened at the RAU in honor of their brave student. Ruben left behind his parents, father, Ashot, mother, a teacher at a local school, and a younger brother. Ruben’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Ruben Iskandaryan:
Sargis Khalafyan (b.1967) along with his four freedom fighter friends was one of the first fedayees who left for the front lines as a volunteer as soon as the news of Azeri attack broke out. He wanted to finish the job that was left after the first war and felt that it was important to show moral support to the new generation of defenders of the Homeland. During the Artsakh Liberation Movement, Sargis had participated in the self-defense battles in Syunik and the liberation of Lachin (Berdzor). In October of 1992, he was wounded and left the battlefield. Sargis Khalafyan lost his life on April 4th when one of the enemy rockets landed in the trench where he was stationed with a few other fighters. He was described as a selfless fighter and a devoted friend. According to his wife, Nune, Sargis was also a great father of four (now adult) children – two daughters and two sons, one of whom is currently serving in the Armenian Army. Sargis’ family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Sargis Khalafyan:
Adam Sahakyan (b. 1996) was the commander of one of the Armenian positions near Jrakan (Jabrail). He defended the area entrusted to him during the Azeri aggression along with eight of his friends; their unit was known by the nickname ‘Angels’. On the night of April 2nd, eight of the nine soldiers fought for five hours, giving their lives to prevent the advancement of over 200 soldiers of the enemy who were mercilessly bombarding the Armenian positions. Having fought until his last breath, Adam was the last one of his unit to die after a five hour long battle, during which the enemy lost about 100 soldiers. Adam’s parents talk about the immense pride they feel for their son’s heroic conduct, which is the only thing that gives them strength to carry on. Adam had a favorite hobby – drawing, and wanted to become an architect after the completion of his studies. He was also an athletic young man, who practiced both karate and boxing. Adam loved movies about historical figures and heroes, and he lived his life like a true hero. Adam’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Adam Sahakyan:
Suren Tcharatanyan (b. 1955) was known for his great sense of humor. A descendent of genocide survivors from Hajin (Cilicia) and a true patriot, Suren Tcharatanyan participated in the Artsakh Liberation Movement as a volunteer since its early days. Having spent four years on the front lines, Suren returned home to his wife, Anush, and young daughter. For many years, he led the Compatriotic Union of Hajin Armenians, dedicating to preserving the traditions of that community. When the enemy attacked in April, Suren once again left for the front lines, ignoring his heart condition and leaving behind his sick wife. He died on April 7th from a gunshot wound during battles with Azeri invaders. Suren’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Suren Tcharatanyan:
Hayk Toroyan (b. 1985) was a career military man, who left school early (8th grade) to enroll in the Monte Melkonyan Military Academy, which he completed in 2002. He continued his education at a Russian military school, where he spent the next five years of his life (2002 – 2007). Upon return to Armenia, Hayk Toroyan was stationed in Artsakh (Martakert and Mataghis) and served there during the next 9 years, up until his death. He dedicated a total of 13 years of his life to the Army, having earned multiple awards and becoming a Major of the Armenian Armed Forces. Hayk – the only son in the family – had turned 30 last year and was planning to get married in the summer of 2016. On April 2nd, Hayk was returning to his position after taking weapons to the front lines, when he and the driver were surrounded by a much larger group of Azeri invaders. The young man fought until the last breath, but the Azeris were able to take his body and in accordance with the traditions of that barbaric tribe, they beheaded Hayk. Hayk’s family was given $1,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Learn more about Hayk Toroyan:
Mher Yerznkyan (b. 1995) loved flowers, and kept a garden in the family’s yard. His parents, Aramayis and Armineh, remember him as an energetic, active, and lively young man, who loved life. Mher left school after 9th grade and studied to become a jeweler: a silver cross he had made himself now decorates the photo of the fallen hero. Due to housing problems, Mher’s family – parents, older brother and younger sister – lives together with his uncle, and it was Mher’s dream to buy a home for his parents. Mher had joined the Army in January of 2016, having postponed his draft by three years due to multiple health problems. The family had last spoken to Mher a few hours before his death; his friends later told Mher’s parents that their son was planning on staying in the Army upon completing his compulsory service. That dream, along with many others, will remain unfulfilled for the young man, who lost his life on the night of April 5/6 during an Azeri attack. Mher’s family was given $2,000 by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign, half of which was provided by the students at the Mesrobian Armenian School. Learn more about Mher Yerznkyan by clicking here.
The families of five other fallen heroes from Yerevan – Bagrat Aleksanyan, Tigran Berakchyan, Sasun Mkrtchyan, Hrach Muradyan, and Armenak Urfanyan – were visited by Pilibos Armenian school students in the summer.
The AYF’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign, originally launched in 2012, was restarted in the aftermath of the Four Day War with the aim of providing assistance to the families of the fallen soldiers. To learn more about the campaign or to make a donation today, visit withoursoldiers.com.
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.