The chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) has urged Gamcoy 15 personnel to keep up the unflinching loyalty, commitment and service to the president and commander-in-chief and by extension to the government and the people of The Gambia.
Lt. General Ousman Bargie was speaking Wednesday at the GAF Training School Guards Battalion at Fajara Barracks in Bakau, during the passing out of the pre-deployment for the preparation of Gamcoy 15 for their deployment to Darfur, Sudan, and Training of Trainers (TOT) for the instructors of the Training School. The month-long training was on Peace Support Operation (PSO), consisting 196 personnel of Gamcoy 15 and six instructors.
CDS Bargie said that reports reaching them hailed the extreme competence of the Gambian contingents as they are described by the head of the mission as "the pride of the mission". He noted that present day PSO missions are multinational and multifunctional in nature requiring troops and other mission personnel to exhibit high standards of professionalism and portray a good image of their armed forces and the organisations they represent.
"On the Training of Trainers Course offered to our instructors, this move has paid dividends. It has enabled our instructors to conduct unscheduled PDT for contingents meant for Guinea Bissau and Mali in the past," he said.
Lt. Gen. Bargie noted that the TOT has equipped the GAFTS with the latest modern guidelines in stability operations and has also provided the training school with the equipment needed to conduct PSO training. "The British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) plays a fundamental role in the maintenance of the existing cordial relationship between the Gambia Armed Forces and the British Army," he added.
The CDS said the forum provides a platform to educate, teach and implement up-to-date military doctrines based on demands and to fill in gaps for a common strategy in the region. He acknowledged that the United Kingdom has been a big brother to the Republic of The Gambia in general and GAF in particular since the early 80s. He then challenged them not to leave any stone unturned in transforming and expanding the knowledge to men and women under their command.
On his part, Captain Abdoulie Jobe, the commandant of the GAF Training School, said that inline with the CDS' annual training directive, soldiers of Gamcoy 15 have been trained in various subjects which include: Principles of Peace Support Operation, Land Mine Awareness, Media Handling, and Map Marking among others. He explained that the training was exclusively conducted by GAF Training School with the BMMATT playing a supervisory and mentoring role.
He added: "The TOT on the other hand was a great success story and is the second of its kind conducted by the BMATT for the instructors of the school. The instructors have been trained on modern instructing techniques and procedures. They have been trained to utilise training methods such as Battle Lessons and Battle Exercises which had greatly enhanced their output. The training took an intensive four weeks culminating into a field training exercise.
The rigours and intensity of the course projected the enormity of the task ahead. You have been given the tools to stand your ground within the laws of armed conflict and make yourselves, your armed forces, your country and your commander-in-chief proud. You should be ready to embrace the realities of the operational theatre to which you are bound to be launched into as the security situation in Darfur becomes increasingly volatile."