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March 08, 2013
March 7, 2013
Republic of Fiji Military Forces Land Force Command Battalion members on parade at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Suva, yesterday. They are on stand by to assist quickly if needed amidst the current bad weather. Photo: NAVNEET NARAYAN
Soldiers reminded about oath of allegiance to serve country first
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) is now on alert for a national disaster.
The Land Force Command Battalion (LFC) commanding officer, Lieutenant -Colonel Amani Suliano, yesterday called a battalion special parade to carry out an operational readiness check in preparation should a national disaster strike.
Lieutenant-Colonel Suliano said each kit issued should have enough supplies for seven days.
Addressing the parade, the commanding officer admitted that last year they were not ready when national disasters struck.
“It took us about three days to be prepared for deployment and we don’t want that to happen again this year.”
He said according to the weather report they should be expecting heavy rain and flooding in some areas.
In the past, he said, only the 3Battalion FIR was deployed.
Things have changed since the change in leadership in Government in 2006.
He said in the early 1970s political decisions led to the modest expansion of the military, mainly via their Engineers Unit, which undertook non-defence functions such as rural road building and infrastructure development.
With the Bainimarama-led government the Engineers Unit had been widely deployed to carry out road construction and repair works, including the construction of new bridges and the repair of damaged ones.
Now, he said, other battalions were involved and have been involved in DISMAC work.
He reminded those in the LFC Battallion that while they did the administration work of the RFMF they were still infantry soldiers.
“You should be ready when you‘re required to carry out duties usually performed by the infantry unit.”
As they are now on the alert, Lieutenant-Colonel Suliano reminded the men and women of the battalion that in their oath, their allegiance to serve the country came first, even before their families.
He said they should see that everything at home was in order because when the call for deployment comes they should leave immediately.
Speaking to the Fiji Sun after the parade at Queen Elizabeth Barracks yesterday the commanding officer said he was happy to see his battalion ready for deployment.
He said he had checked his senior officers’ kits and they were also ready.
All the kits were stowed away in a storeroom to make it easy for them when the time came to leave.
That done, he said, they should be ready for deployment 30 minutes after receiving the order.
Lieutenant- Colonel Suliano said their alertness to national disaster is in line with the Republic of Fiji’s military forces’ ‘overarching objective’ to ‘rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well-governed, truly democratic nation.
A nation that seeks progress and prosperity through merit based on equality of opportunity and peace.’