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10.07.2005 General News

GAF Jungle survival exercise ends


Achiase (E/R), July 10, GNA - Major General Joseph Boateng Danquah, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), has stressed the need for the other security services and civil society to compliment the role of the military to quell conflicts and maintain peace.

"Please note that the military alone cannot execute this responsibility alone in time of emergency. We will need the cooperation and professional skills of other security services and civilians. "For this reason, we should learn to cooperate with each other from now. We should also respect the role that each of the security services and civil society play in the joint efforts to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for the development of our beloved country. We must compliment the efforts of each other", Maj. Gen. Danquah said. He was speaking at the closing of the GAF's four-day jungle survival exercise for the various arms of the military at the Jungle Warfare School at Achiase in the Eastern region.

The exercise, code named, Exercise Tiger's Path 05, is a bi-annual tri-service patrol and counter insurgency and jungle warfare exercise on a competitive basis at Akim Achiase and surrounding areas. The exercise, which formed part of the training activities for the 2004/2005 training year of the GAF, involved platoon size teams from the Army, Support Services and the Southern and Northern commands, the Navy and the Air Force.

It was aimed at testing members of the GAF in jungle craft and skills, leadership and endurance abilities and to enhance inter-arm service co-operation among the troops.

It was also to test at the tactical unit level, the capacity of troops to deal rapidly and thoroughly with insurgents in difficult environments, such as the jungle, should the need arise.

Participants were tested in navigation, search and rescue, offensive tactical operations, obstacle crossing and marksmanship. They were also tested in first aid skills in jungle setting. A total of 85 officers and 261 men took part.

Maj. Gen. Danquah urged officers and men of the GAF to put up a determined defense of the pillars of the military, training, discipline, physical fitness and marksmanship.

He stressed the need for officers, soldiers, seaman and airman to know their duties and responsibilities and to carry them out without reminder.

Maj. Gen. Danquah asked military personnel to refrain from doing things that were not permitted by the GAF regulations, saying, "In case of forgetfulness and deliberate offences, one must be brought in line by his colleagues and certainly by his superiors." Thus, superiors must have the moral courage to correct the failures, commissions and omissions of their subordinates, to build a solid foundation that would stand the test of time, he said. Maj. Gen. Danquah stated that in pursuit of physical fitness, the GAF would ensure that every soldier maintains a professional shape, size and weight commensurate with his or her height. This would ensure the first dividend of training and the first requirement of welfare, which is good health. He called on all ranks, officers and units to take their physical training serious.

The CDS noted that the Jungle Survival Exercise was physically demanding and commended the teams for successfully accomplishing all task set for the exercise.

He told the participating teams and other military personnel that he would make their welfare a cornerstone of the GAF, adding that, the first requirement to achieve their welfare was excellent training.

"For, if we are unable to accomplish any mission assigned us, we would be demoralised and no amount of good things of life would be enjoyable to us."

"On the contrary, once we are well trained, we can successfully accomplish all missions, and with that will come many rewards. Therefore, in peace time, training remains our primary occupation and will continue to remain the most attractive welfare package that can be bestowed on you", he stated.

The exercise was based on a scenario where since March 2005, some imaginary armed insurgents, called the "Bongomen" led by a self-styled mercenary, Captain Fawohodi, established training and administrative bases in the forest of the Birim South District.

From these bases they terrorise villages in the district with the aim of spreading in Ghana for an armed rebellion.

The government and people of Ghana resolved not to allow the insurgents' activities to grow.

According scenario, last week, the government tasked the GAF to crush the insurgents and the High Command of the GAF took up the challenge and composed a task force nicknamed "Task Force Tiger" to deal with the situation.

The forces that were deployed to quell the situation rapidly traced the insurgents to five bases, and in simultaneous battles, five platoons of Task Force Tiger destroyed the reinforced platoons of insurgents at their bases.

The deployed forces were the five competing teams in the jungle survival exercise.

At the end of the competition, the Southern Command of the GAF was adjudged the overall winners, while Northern Command came second. Other awards were presented to the teams for excelling in various disciplines. The Southern Command took three of the awards. These were the Best Attack Team, the Best Team in Medical Evacuation and the Best Team in Obstacle Crossing.

The Air-Force team won the award for the Best Team in Navigation while the award for the Best Team in Range Fire went to the Northern Command.

Lance Corporal Christiana Momoyo, from the Support Services Unit was honoured for being the best female in obstacle crossing. This was the first time that female soldiers had taken part fully in the physical demanding competition. The Navy team did not win any award.