Landmark passing out for soldiers

Monday, September 1, 2008
President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, last Friday, presided over a landmark passing out ceremony, marking the completion of months of training of the 29th intake of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), the latest batch of men and women to have joined the force.

With a record 876 personnel, including 63 females, this latest batch is said to be the largest single intake since the creation of the force.

Speaking to a parked crowd of members of his Cabinet, and a cross-section of the community, President Jammeh, who is the commander-in-chief of GAF, described national service as a noble mission. His task, he promised, is to modernise the armed forces; something he had never shied away from.

Capacity building is set to take centre stage in the training packages of the men and women in arms and to this effect, the head of state assured the security and national armed wing that all those with the relevant academic qualifications would be given the same opportunity as those in the civil service to pursue further studies.

“The same opportunity will be given to the civilian mass. If you join The Gambian armed forces, you could become a doctor, a surgeon, or whatever your want to be,” he said, announcing that from now on, his government intends to send at least 25 members of the armed forces for studies overseas. He also used the opportunity to express zero tolerance for armed robbers, drug dealers and paedophiles.

President Jammeh disclosed that he would be positioning armed and security men and women in key strategic positions right across the country to check on such phenomena. In a show of benevolence, the Gambian donated two buses, fully equipped with medical facilities, to the armed forces corps. The buses will be used to render much needed medical services to remote parts of the country.

Major General Lang Tombong Tamba, the chief of Defence Staff of GAF, expressed his appreciation of the president’s gesture.  Major General Tamba reiterated the armed forces readiness to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity, as well as their unqualified loyalty to the president and his government.
General Tamba also acknowledged the uniqueness of this year’s passing out ceremony, describing it as unprecedented in the history of the force.

Assuring the men and women of more support in the form of training and capacity building, the general urged the country’s military to serve the nation and the people with diligence, humility, kindness and mercy, warning them against oppression and harassment.

Several men and women were awarded medals for their outstanding performance during the training process.

Author: by Kemo Cham