Nerses Nersisyan, 57, who took part in the three wars in Artsakh, was refused to volunteer at the military commissariat on the morning of September 27. “You are over 55”, they said, and sent him home. However, the freedom fighter was not one of those who surrender easily; in a few days, he formed the “Eagle-11” detachment together with his comrades-in-arms, and immediately left for the front line.
Nerses got acquainted with one of his friends Armenak Avetisyan in 1989, during the first Artsakh war. According to him, due to his strength, will and struggle, many positions were kept.
“Nerses was one of the exceptional commanders, he was a legendary person, modest, possessing high human values. He always raised spirits of all our boys with his enthusiasm, encouragement, he did not back down during all the wars, risking his life, he has saved the boys and kept the positions trusted to them. Inspired by Nerso’s feats, almost all the youth of our region voluntarily left for the army during this war. “It was our third war together, unfortunately — the last one,” Armenak told Forrights, going back in his mind to the 1990s.
The comrades-in-arms remember April 24, 1994, when, as part of the 5th Brigade, they took part in the liberation of the villages of Mets-Shen, Hakob-Kamari, Maghavuz and Talish in the Martakert region. Nerses got seriously injured just a few centimeters above the heart, but, even in that condition, Captain Nersisyan demanded to leave him and help the rest of the fighters:
“He was devoted to the idea of the homeland,” his friends say.
On September 27, upon hearing the news of the war, the commander gathered his comrades-in-arms, formed a detachment of 93 people, and left for the already familiar positions on October 2, this time to the area of the Yeghnikner unit in Mataghis.
According to the family, they could not dare to hold Nerses back. The daughter, Gayane, tells how her father called her in the morning of his departure and informed that he was going to war.
“I couldn’t stand it; I cried, I said, ‘Dad, can’t you not go this time?’ He got angry, he said ‘If we don’t go, who will go: these young children?’ He ranked the homeland higher than his family; he did not even think about his children and grandchildren.”
“Eagle-11” detachment was given a very important task on the night of October 12: eight members of the detachment had to climb Mount Arega and keep the abandoned position. According to Manvel, another friend of Nerses from the detachment, a young man who wasn’t 18 yet, had to go instead of Nerses but, at the last moment, the commander preferred himself to the boy
“We were immediately under the enemy; the Turks [means Azerbaijanis] were above the gorge, we were in it. It was an abandoned position. We, eight people, kept it all night at the expense of our lives. In the morning, they started bombing even harder.
For a moment, there was a silence, then we heard a noise and a projectile fell directly on Nerses and the guys ․He and two others were injured. He did not let me to aproach, he said, ‘I am departing, you take care of the children,'” tells Manvel.
They tried to take the commander to the nearest hospital by ambulance, but did not succeed․ Nersisyan died on the way from severe injuries. The position, however, was maintained by the volunteers of the detachment.
“During the first Artsakh war we were three friends; Rafo was killed in 1993, [it felt as if] one of my arms was cut off, last year Nerses left, both my arms are cut off at once now” says Manvel with pain.
The family was informed about Nerses’s death by the latter’s friends. The wife, Arusyak, recalls their last phone call on October 9, when her husband was able to exchange only a few words and asked about the children and grandchildren․
“I did not expect Nerso to die, I thought that, like the previous times, this time too he will return as a hero… But I lost my hero eagle.”
The freedom fighters who went through several wars distinguish this war from the previous ones, noting that this was not a human war, it was a war of arms and the defeat was inevitable․
“In this war, there was a lack of spiritual stamina, strength and psychological training. Even the officers were not ready to war, they had not seen a war, that is why there were cases of escape among some of them. Many commanders even had their own hiding places. But all of us, Nerso included, have come out of the war victoriously,” Armenak says confidently, adding, “In war, you do not think about anything, you do not know whether you will survive, be wounded or die.”
Nerses’s native village, Myasnikyan (population of about 4,500 people), gave 13 victims to this war, five of whom were members of the detachment.