Colonel Сornel Tonea-Bălan
Colonel Сornel Tonea-Bălan was born on 12 February 1974 in Prundu-Bârgăului, Bistrița Năsăud. Following his graduation from the Romanian Military Infantry Institute “Nicolae Bălcescu” in 1996, he was commissioned Lieutenant and assigned as an Infantry Platoon Leader and later as Company Commander at the 812th Infantry Battalion. His first deployment was in 2002, in Kosovo, as the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Company in BG ”BELUROKOS 10 KFOR – KOSOVO”.
In 2004, Captain Tonea was assigned as Section Head in S3- Operations and in 2008 S3 Branch Head in the same Infantry Battalion. During this time, the officer had his second deployment, in Iraq, as a planner and PSYOPS officer, and the third one, in Afghanistan, as Planning Section Head in S3 – Operations.
Major Tonea completed in 2011 his studies at the Romanian National Defence University, obtaining a master’s degree in Military Science and Information. Later that year, he was appointed Deputy Commander of 812th Infantry Battalion.
In 2012, the officer was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and in 2014 he was appointed as Chief of Operations at 81st Mechanized Brigade. In mid-2015, Lieutenant Colonel Tonea was assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) G3 Operations in the newly established Multinational Division South-East Headquarters. He was part of the core team of MND-SE HQ and contributed to the development of the first NATO 2 stars HQs in Romania.
In 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Tonea assumed command of 495th Airborne Battalion. During the time in which he was battalion commander, he was involved with his troops in Noble Jump 2017 and Saber Guardian 17 exercises.
His awards and decorations include: Defence Staff Honour Medal, Land Forces Honour Medal, NATO Non-Art. 5 Medal and NATO medal for serving in Kosovo Theatre of Operations.
In March 2018 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and assigned as the Acting Commander of NATO Force Integration Unit Romania.
Colonel Tonea is married and has two children.