Monday, March 2, 2015

SP SVCS BDE CDR cautions Soldiers against Misusing of Military Uniforms

11 December 2014. The Commander of the Support Services Brigade Group, Brig Gen Musah Whajah has cautioned soldiers to desist from using military uniforms to engage in activities that would tarnish the image of the Ghana Armed Forces achieved over years.

He bemoaned the increasing spate soldiers especially the younger ones resort to the use of military fatigue to engage in illegal activities for their selfish ambition.

The Brigade Commander made these remarks at the Formation’s bi-weekly Padre Hour at the Brigade’s headquarters on Thursday 11 December 2014. He said soldiers who indulged themselves in illegal activities contradicted the code and ethics of the Armed Forces and warned that such unscrupulous soldiers should desist from the criminal act. “As professional soldiers it is incumbent on us to lead exemplary lives for others to emulate”, he added.

He enumerated some of the illegal activities performed by soldiers as, illegal gold mine check point and extorting monies from unsuspecting people. He called on soldiers who involved themselves in the illegal acts to refrain from them since they undermined the military high command would not shield wrong doers when apprehended but would be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Brig Gen Whajah said the military was established on discipline and charged all and sundry to purge themselves of wrong doing and exhibit the highest discipline and comportment at all times. He described the military as a noble profession and advised troops to uphold the core values of the Armed Forces, be loyal, honest, committed and law abiding. He reminded soldiers of the oath they swore to protect and defend the territorial integrity of the state and her citizenry. This attestation he said bound service personnel to remain loyal to the sate and to desist from acts that cast the military in a bad light.

He charged soldiers to be content with their salary and to invest in their future retirement. For service personnel who intended to go out of the service prior to their Run Out Date (ROD), the Brigade Commander cautioned them against taking such hasty decision since most of the soldiers who opted out of the service prematurely had later regretted for taking such decision.

Forum on the Provident Fund

10 December 2014. The Ghana Armed Forces Resettlement Unit has organised a forum on the Provident Fund at the auditorium of the Burma Hall on Wednesday 10 December, 2014.

The forum was aimed at sensitising contributors on the importance of the fund and the need to increase one’s contribution to the fund and to also sort the views on issues relating to the sustainability of the fund since it has come to stay.

Speaking on the modalities and issues relating to the fund, Capt (GN) Daniel Agyenim-Boateng, Director Civilian Establishment indicated that it was safer and secured to invest in the provident fund than any other fund since it was being managed by the National Investment bank (NIB).  Adding that the provident fund had come to stay and would help contributors invest while on retirement. The lump sum an individual contributed he said would be paid into his account upon completion of his terminal leave.

He added that, the Ghana Armed Forces was not the only institution that is investing in a similar fund. He made reference to India where personnel contribute to their pension fund and are only allowed to access their money only when they are going to marry or after their end of service.

Addressing the forum, Lt Col Daniel Kofi Amissah from the pay office indicated that the provident fund or the pension fund is not been managed by the Ghana Armed Forces regulations hence their inability to review the interest rate. He urged all who were present to take delight in saving with the provident fund.

Wing Commander Kudoh (a member of the Board of trustees), expressed his profound gratitude to the military high command for bringing an idea that is already yielding dividends adding that provident fund was part of each contributor’s estate.

He indicated that the provident fund is prepared for the troops and noted that one can access the fund only after five year by the rules and regulations which will take effect in January, 2015. 

COS of Guinea Bissau Request for Training Support from GAF

9 December 2014. The Chief of Staff (COS) of the Guinea Bissau Armed Forces Brig Gen Biaque Nantan, has appealed to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie, to permit Guinea Bissau to train their officers in Ghana.

Brig Gen Nantan made this appeal when he called on the CDS at his office on 9 December 2014. He noted that they chose Ghana Armed Forces to train their officers due to the countries credentials in democracy in Africa and also for the fact that Ghana was part of ECOWAS.

Vice Admiral Quashie accepted his appeal and pledged to work towards it.  He briefed him about Ghana Armed Forces. The CDS expressed his happiness at meeting Brig Gen Nantan at the just ended ECOWAS Extraordinary CDS’ meeting on 08 December 2014.

The CDS was excited to know that Guinea Bissau is now a stabilized country and has an elected ruling government. He cautioned that as military officers, it is their responsibility to ensure that there is peace in each nation for easy movements of citizens and economic development.

He congratulated Brig Gen Nantan on his appointment and wished him God’s Blessings, wisdom and good health to lead his Armed Forces and assured him of GAF’s support in all endeavours.

AFRICAN Command Sergeant Major Interacts with Sergeant Majors of GAF

December 9 2014. An exchange programme which would have one Ghanaian Sergeant Major, travel to the Sergeant Majors’ Academy in the United States of America, for a year-long training, has been disclosed in a meeting of the African Command Sergeant Major and sergeant majors of the Ghana Armed Forces, at the General Headquarters conference hall in Accra on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.

The interaction which was at the instance of the African Command Sergeant Major, Darrin Bohn, saw a number of issues discussed, key among which included, peacekeeping operations, the opening of a school in Germany, to train Non-Commissioned Officers from Navies across Africa, as well as issues about cultural differences hindering the activities of armies in both countries.

Command Sergeant Major Bohn disclosed that, the US was opening an Non-Commissioned Officers’ Academy in Germany by April 2015 for the Air Force, which would have NCOs from the Ghana Air force, trained in courses of modern military practice.

“We are starting up a new NCO academy in Germany for the Air force, and we are in discussions about how to send some of the Ghanaian air force NCOs over to get trained in the coming year,” he said.

It was also agreed that logistical resources for the work of armies across nations are to be beefed up in order to boost the professional competencies of personnel in both countries.

“Logistics are a big problem everywhere, even for us in the US-the fuel, ammunition ,money among others, remain a challenge, but even as strides are made to provide personnel with some of these, it is important to have courses that teach logistics and equipment management, to ensure personnel are abreast of its uses”, he said.

CSM Bohn further touched on the importance of an intelligence-driven pre-operations training for soldiers of the Ghana Armed Forces, who are to go on peacekeeping missions, even as issues of crime, war and terrorism become more sophisticated.

In relation to the exchange programme between the US and Ghana, he said, “one sergeant major from Ghana will go to the Sergeant Majors’ Academy in America for a year-long course, following which he will stay an additional year to instruct in the Academy, before returning.”

He added that, one sergeant major from the US will in turn come to Ghana and bring his expertise to bear in areas he will be much-needed.

Forces Sergeant Major Owusu Dickson, commended the laudable initiatives of the US to raising the standards of the Ghanaian Armed Forces, and asked CSM Bohn to solicit more support for the Armed Forces.

Senior Warrant Officer Blackman Addi, however decried some of the ways US Army representatives, sent to train Ghanaian soldiers, overlook Ghanaian leaders on the field, lumping them all up in one space.

This, he said leaves a sour taste in the mouths of such leaders, and de-ranks them before their subordinates, even after the US representatives depart.

“We have our cultural practices, we recognise ranks and grades so much in Africa, and this is an area you have to check. In the field, it looks like they lose sight of these ranks and lower our standing before the younger soldiers, and alienate the leaders. When this is checked, I am sure it would make our work easier,” he said.

CSM Bohn promised to ensure the situation is addressed with swift attention, in a bid to promote healthy cooperation between the armies.

Sergeant majors at the meeting agreed that, the move was an excellent one, which will help beef up the capacity of the Ghana Armed Forces, while at the same time, deepen ties between the militaries of both countries.

AFRICOM Commander Commends GAF Peacekeepers

9 December 2014. The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) has lauded the goodwork, professionalism and excellent conduct of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Peacekeepers during their missions both in United Nations (UN) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Gen Rodriguez made this known during his visit to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Vice Admiral Matthew Quashie at his office on 9 December, 2014 at Burma Camp.

According to him, his visit to the CDS was to familiarise himself with GAF after taking over command from Gen Charter F Ham so as to  build upon the long term relationship built by his colleagues from the North Dakota National Guard (NDNG).

He touched on issues such as the fight against piracy, the Ebola epidemic and measures laid down by the United States of Africa to handle emergent cases such as command and control of communication, provision of logistics and setting up of Engineering department, public outreach and training of burial teams to avoid transmission of disease, testing and treating patients and contracts tracing for easy identification and isolation of Ebola patients.

He described maritime security as an important issue which should be well handled in order not to affect the economic zone of the region.  AFRICOM he noted can work hand-in-hand with Ghana to solve some major challenges being faced by the region such as the Boko Haram menace.

The AFRICOM Commander further commended the US Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) team for training Ghanaian peacekeepers. Africa he said provides close to 3,000 peacekeepers. AFRICOM works by joining its force to deliver their duties, he noted.

Gen Rodriguez pledged to work towards issues discussed and promised to send feed back to the CDS.

Vice Admiral Quashie expressed his delight for Gen Rodriguez’s visit to the GAF.  He cited AFRICOM-GAF partnerships as strategic.

The CDS mentioned that there has been a paradigm shift in crime from the land to the sea which demands security to safeguard this zone. As a result, GAF in collaboration with its sister security agencies in neighbouring countries have come together to work on maritime threats which they have chalked some successes.

He briefed the AFRICOM commander about challenges GAF is currently facing.  He listed them as logistics, training the trainers at Bundase, establishing a training school for the Special Forces, building the capacity of medical staff in the 37 Military Hospital to boost their confidence in handling Ebola cases.

Vice Adm Quashie requested for support for weaker nations like Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia to handle maritime threats along the Gulf of Guinea.

Gen Rodriguez was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Ghana Gene A Cretz, Mr Mate Holt, Ms Jun Bando and Major Philip Buswell.

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