By Colonel Richard Edukwesi WOANYA
Chief Instructor Joint Studies
Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College

THIRTY YEARS BACK INTO TIME: LIVE BROADCAST

Time now is exactly 11:30am. The parade has just marched in review order. Prizes and awards are being presented to deserving award winners. Families, well-wishers and spectators beam with laughter and applause, waiting patiently to embrace their sons and daughters who have made it this far.


There, on the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) parade square, stood forty-six (46) Officer Cadets of the Regular Career Course 32 (RCC 32) and Short Service Course 31, listening with rapt attention, to the address of the His Excellency the Head of State of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Jerry John Rawlings, to the graduating cadets and the Ghanaian populace at large.


Excerpts from the then Head of State’s address:
“…The Nation cannot confine itself to … ethnic differences instead of a single National Consciousness, professional rivalry instead of collective efforts for national advancement…”
Pursuant to achieving what he termed a Single National Consciousness and Collective effort for national advancement, the C-in-C called on Ghanaians “…not to spare any effort in building bridges to link every segment of the society…” (JJ Rawlings 92: People’s Daily Graphic – Saturday, 15 August 1992, No. 12976).


He then admonished the graduating cadets stating categorically that, “As Officers, you must do all you can to preserve the bridges that have been painstakingly erected between the military and other security agencies and, especially, between the military and the civilian population”. He opined that, “Together with other segments of society, we do constitute different but inseparable parts of our evolving national entity and the forces that must eventually shape its destiny”. (JJ Rawlings 92: Ghanaian Times – Saturday, August 15, 1992, No. 10,972).


The C-in-C further noted that “the strength of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has thrived on its own unity of purpose as well as its versatility and discipline of individual men and women unshakably committed to their chosen profession and above all to their country.” (JJ Rawlings 92: People’s Daily Graphic – Saturday, 15 August 1992, No. 12976).


BUILDING BRIDGES: THIRTY YEARS ON


The then C-in-C of GAF made the statement quoted earlier, 30 years ago when he reviewed the graduation parade of RCC 32 and Short Service Course 31 on 14 August 1992 at the Military Academy and Training Schools (MATS), Teshie.


It is an honour and pride to be granted the Presidential Commission by His Excellency, Mr. President (or on this particular occasion, the Head of State). This honour and pride conferred by Mr President has been the driving force and catalyst that has made even the feeblest person dare apply to be enlisted into GAF. This same pride and honour keep the cadet through thick and thin until graduation. It has been 30 years since this address was made.


It is therefore with great introspection and pride that I, a member of RCC 32 of GMA, would like to attempt to assess how the advice from the then Head of State, 30 years ago, has shaped the perception and work culture of members of RCC 32.


SINGLE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS


The then C-in-C called for Single National Consciousness instead of entrenching ethnic differences in every facet of the Ghanaian society. Cadets of RCC 32 were drawn from different walks of life with different persuasions. They were a cluster of people from varied ethnic backgrounds. Their differences did not matter as the focus of the training was to turn out gentlemen officers for the prestigious GAF. The ‘Officer Factory’ has over the years been able to successfully reduce the things that divide and destroy the cohesion of various intakes, thereby strengthening the bridge that brought Ghana into existence.


As a group drawn from varied persuasions and background, we nonetheless had a mission with a common purpose, that was to graduate as Officers into the elite Officer Corps of GAF. The training at GMA did exactly that. We were transformed into a cohesive unit, a formidable force and as an adaptable human resource for the development of Ghana.


The training did not focus on our differences as a people; we were taught to be our brother’s keeper through the concept of ‘Electrification’. The concept of electrification punishes all intake mates for the shortcomings and feebleness of any individual member. Cadets therefore strive to bring every colleague along during long distance endurance training, preparation for Monday morning room inspection, field exercises et cetera.


The intake is assessed as a unit during life in Academy and life after commission. The intake of an officer does not change although he or she may take seniority in rank with a senior or junior intake. Members of RCC 32 were therefore commissioned from GMA with the spirit of oneness and a common identity.


Thirty years after being commissioned from GMA, the Bridge of Single National Consciousness has remained intact within the ranks of RCC 32. The Intake has over the years been in contact with all its members who reported for training. The names of all Intake 32 cadets who reported for training at GMA are at the end of this write-up. Twenty-five years after graduation, RCC 32 gave birth to RCC Intake 32 Association. The association is made up of uniform and non-uniform members. The non-uniform members include those on retirement and those who for one reason or the other could not be commissioned into GAF.


Whilst celebrating our 25th Anniversary as GMA Intake 32, both uniform and non-uniform members contributed willingly to the donation made by the Intake to its alma mater. This unique and kind gesture by especially those who for one reason or the other could not be commissioned from GMA must be acknowledged. They gave willingly to better the lot of the institution they cherish and love. They ran, hopped, jumped and walked on its pressure-packed compound as part of us until they left us. Posterity would acknowledge and reward their kind gesture.


It is also worth acknowledging the peculiar and unique membership of the Intake. Two separate enlistments with different entry dates constituted RCC 32. Officer Cadets of RCC Intake 32 were enlisted in May/June 1990 and reported for training on Thursday 1 November 1990 whilst Officer Cadets of RCC Intake 32B were enlisted in November/December 1990 and reported for training on Thursday 24 January 1991 with Short Service Course 30. The Intake was designated 32 and 32B whilst in GMA. However, the Intake was collectively known as RCC 32 on Commission. The different reporting dates are irrelevant now, as we share a common name and date of commission. The bridge built in GMA between the two, has grown stronger over the years.


As the Intake celebrated its 30th Anniversary with the address of the then President in retrospect, it can be deduced that, the ethnic colour of members of RCC 32 at the point of entry to GMA and after commissioning, has been pushed to the back burner. The Intake has adopted the word ‘UBUNTU – I am because we are’ and coined its own slogan which is ‘Together as One’. This is to demonstrate the Intake’s unique feature as a united, formidable and adaptable human resource of the country and the world at large. This sense of togetherness has been eulogized at the end of this write-up.


COLLECTIVE EFFORT FOR NATIONAL ADVANCEMENT


The C-in-C further called for ‘Collective Effort for National Advancement’ instead of professional rivalry. Charity, they say, begins at home and members of RCC 32 are aware of the need to eschew professional covetousness. Members of RCC 32 have worked hard to eschew professional jealousy. They have worked at unit, formation, Service headquarters and training institutions for and with commanders at different levels of Command. There has not been any occasion that their competence, loyalty and commitment to the professional advancement of the GAF been questioned.


The Intake as part of GAF has contributed its quota to the advancement of GAF and the country at large in both Internal Security Operations in the form of assistance to Civil Authority during peacetime and national emergencies. One of such support was the infamous conflict that rocked the Northern Region of Ghana in 1992 through to 1994. Members of the Intake played various roles, at varying levels of command, during such operations.


It is noteworthy that majority of the Intake Officers were the Platoon Commanders that served with ECOMOG GHANBATT 7 in Liberia, just after commissioning from February to September 1993. GHANBATT 7 was part of the Brigade Advance to Contact that captured Buchanan from Charles Taylor and his rebels. Naval Officers from the Intake were also part of GNS YOGAGA during the ECOMOG Operations in Liberia.


Once again, most of those who served in Liberia as part of ECOMOG GHANBATT 7 were deployed in Rwanda with UNAMIR GHANBATT 1 from February to November 1994. The UN Force was withdrawn due to total insecurity after the gunning down of the aircraft carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, and the attack on the Belgians living in Rwanda. The majority of the Platoon Commanders who formed part of the 245 residual Ghanaian Battalion of UNAMIR GHANBATT 1, under the command of then Lt Col JK Adinkrah, were from the Intake.


They may not have been individually or collectively mentioned as young officers who at the formative period of their career achieved such a feat but the records are there to prove that the platoon commanders of the residual force were mainly from RCC 32. They provided security to humanitarian operatives and undertook escort duties in a high-risk environment. These are historic achievements of the Intake, as we had the opportunity to practise what was taught in GMA.


Additionally, helicopter pilots of the Intake have served at Command level of the Ghana Aviation Unit (GHAV) of UNOCI in Cote d’Ivoire, and were actually the longest-serving Commanders of GHAV. A member of the Intake has held the Command at GHAV of MUNISMA.


In another instance, a helicopter pilot from the Intake was commended by the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for his outstanding performance that led to the unravelling of the cause of the crash of a Georgian reconnaissance aircraft in Abkhazia on 20 April 2008 (Graphic Online).
On the international diplomatic scene, some members of the Intake from Ghana Navy and Ghana Air Force have served and some are still serving as Defence Attachés with Ghana’s Foreign Embassies abroad.


BUILDING BRIDGES TO LINK EVERY SEGMENT OF THE GHANAIAN SOCIETY


The C-in-C emphasized the need to build bridges to link every segment of the Ghanaian society. Members of the Intake, as part of GAF at lower levels of command and as detachment commanders, have championed this cause during Internal Security Operations. The GAF has increased the support it lends to the Ghana Police Service and Civil Authority in Internal Security Operations. In retrospect, the Intake views the call to build bridges to link every segment of the Ghanaian society, as a relevant call to duty.


The call to build bridges to link every segment of the Ghanaian society, can be further promoted by the Retired Officers Association, in consultation and collaboration with all retired Officers and men of the GAF, in liaison with the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Security. This is a role the Intake believes would help strengthen the Bridge of National Single Consciousness and development.


PRESERVATION OF BRIDGES BUILT


The C-in-C did not mince words when he charged those graduating, to preserve bridges built between the military and the civilian population. The contemporary Ghanaian security landscape indicates a significant improvement in the relationship between the GAF and other security services. Members of the Intake, as part of GAF, have demonstrated their commitment to the clarion call to preserve the bridges built, through participation in Internal Security Operations, including disaster management operations. The GAF, through innovative programmes like the GAF Open Day, has not only strengthened but broadened the bridge. The activities of the GAF as an institution have endeared the Ghanaian populace to it. Other activities like monetary donations from GAF Units from Peace Support Operations to some civilian institutions, such as Ghana Heart Foundation, and some corporate bodies helping GAF at various units, have also preserved the bridge. The future looks bright for a sustainable and healthy civil-military cooperation.


The call to build bridges is a laudable one and very relevant in contemporary Ghanaian security, economic and social development. Posterity would judge the actions and inactions of this generation of Ghanaians, as they play their part in preserving a Single National Consciousness and Collective Effort for National Advancement. The clarion call is to all segments of the Ghanaian society including public and private institutions and personalities, to lend their optimum talent, substance, energy and time to preserve the bridge of Single National Consciousness and Collective Effort for National Advancement. Ghanaians should not spare any effort to build more bridges to link every facet of the society and every person living in Ghana.


RESUMPTION OF LIVE BROADCAST


“Intake 32, hand over the Colours” … “Graduating Cadets, Slow March” … Joy unspeakable! RCC 32 and SSC 31 marched off the parade square to the Academy Hall. Inside the Ante Room at the Officer Cadets’ Mess, the Young Officers were decorated with their respective military ranks. Intake 32 was born amidst joy and high expectations from country, citizens, Military High Command and families.

KEY PERSONALITIES AND CADET PARADE APPOINTMENTS ON PARADE

Reviewing Officer, Chairman of PNDC, C-in-C GAF – Flt Lt JJ Rawlings.
General Officer Commanding GAF – AVM AHK Dumashie.
Commandant MATS – Brigadier LK Appah.
Commanding Officer GMA – Lieutenant Colonel WK Amanie.
2IC Ghana Military Academy – Major TH Tawiah.
Chief Instructor – Major MJ Watson.
OC Tactics – Major D Ladzekpo.
Course Commander RCC 32 – Captain AS Mohammed.
RSM GMA – WOI E Afful.

Final Cadet Appointments

SUO – SUO W Agbemava.
JUO – JUO DD Gbedawo.
CQMS – CQMS JM Annak.
Cadet/CSM – Cadet/CSM RE Woanya.
C/SGT – C/Sgt J Hagan.

Parade Appointments


Ceremonial Parade Commander – Maj GA Biah
Ceremonial Parade Adjutant – Captain AS Mohammed
Parade Commander – JUO Gbedawo DD.
Parade Second-in-Command – JUO Tei FN.
Parade Adjutant – JUO Obodai.

Colour Ensigns

Senior Ensign – Cadet/CSM Woanya RE.
Junior Ensign – S/Cadet Otinkorang.
Colour Escorts – Officer Cadet Yekple J, Officer Cadet Voegborlo H, Officer Cadet Gbadago A

Stick Orderlies – Officer Cadet Akanbong, Naval Cadet Blekor

Contingent Commanders

Graduating Contingent – Senior Under Officer Agbemava W.
Supernumerary – Junior Under Officer Tei FN.
No.1 Escort Contingent – Senior Cadet Afful GE
Supernumerary – Officer Cadet Zuberviel R.
No. 2 Escort Contingent – Senior Cadet Sosi.
Supernumerary – Officer Cadet Landy J.
No. 3 Escort Contingent – JUO Obodai.
Supernumerary – Officer Cadet Agordekpe S.
Parade Regimental Sergeant Major – WOI E Afful.

WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM

These are the men both dead and the living who celebrated that faithful day with us. The day of graduating from the Ghana Military Academy is a day every Officer Cadet looks forward to.
Adios to some of the great personalities and comrades who were part of the process and system that made us soldiers, but today are not here with us. Posterity would always remember them.

As we go down memory lane on the occasion of the celebration of our 30th Anniversary as Commissioned Officers of the Ghana Armed Forces and alumni of the Ghana Military Academy, it is just appropriate that we recollect how and when all happened by whom and with who.

These gallant heroes were the men whose sweat, dedication to duty, commitment to the higher call of training others and excellent execution of their assigned individual, but national responsibilities that made us who we are today. They gave off their best to be part of the system and process that shaped our perception about soldering and gave us the character and tenacity to come this far.

Hence it is just appropriate that we call the roll as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary as Commissioned Officers. We doff our hats to those who have passed on. We honour the memory of the former President, Commander-in-Chief and Reviewing Officer HE JJ Rawlings. We recall hearing of the passing on of Air Marshall Dumashie as Young Officers. Lt Col Amanie, the Commanding Officer, during our graduation, passed on when we had just celebrated our 25th Anniversary. We also recall the passing on of Regimental Sergeant Major, Ex-WOI E Afful, retired GMA Regimental Sergeant Major and the Parade Regimental Sergeant Major for our graduation ceremony.

We also doff our hats to our colleagues and comrades who held different parade appointments during that memorable day, and commanded with pride and military precision. We honour the memories of those who have passed on. We recollect vividly the passing on of Second Lieutenant Gbadago and later the passing on of Officer Commanding the Rear, 3Bn Maj Yekple.

We thank God for the lives of the key personalities and Cadet Parade Appointments who made our graduation ceremony a memorable one.

Congratulations! We have come this far by grace as senior members of the Ghana Armed Forces and of various key international and national organisations.
God bless RCC 32 Association Members.
Favour is really ours. Ubuntu.

IT’S BEEN THIRTY YEARS

Thoughts of our first meeting kept coming back to me.
It was a Thursday, early hours of the day.
Get down and hop.
Get down and hop.
My God! It was a journey of no return.
Fall in Intake 32.
Fall in Intake 32.
We thank God.

UBUNTU
I am because we are.
You are because we are.
Together as one.
You are my Brother.

Destiny brought us together.
It was ordained before the foundations of the earth were laid.
We ran, hopped, scaled obstacles and traversed difficult terrain together.
We braced up for the worse case scenarios.
We supported each other.
We were and are a team.
Fall in RCC 32.
Fall in RCC 32.
We are grateful to God.

UBUNTU
I am because we are.
You are because we are.
Together as one.
You are my Brother.

All too soon, Thirty Years has passed.
Memories of Academy are so far in my thought.
All I can recollect is the friendship and bond that has kept us together as one.
Fall in August 92.
Fall in August 92.
We praise you, Father God.

UBUNTU
I am because we are.
You are because we are.
Together as one.
You are my Brother.

OFFICER CADETS OF REGULAR CAREER COURSE INTAKE 32

Army Cadets

  1. O/Cdt AK Dawohoso
  2. O/Cdt J Hagan
  3. O/Cdt BB Owusu
  4. O/Cdt S Tanye-Kulono
  5. O/Cdt DD Gbedawo
  6. O/Cdt EK Commey
  7. O/Cdt RE Woanya
  8. O/Cdt J Wonje
  9. O/Cdt FN Tei
  10. O/Cdt SWK Parbey
  11. O/Cdt J Eshun
  12. O/Cdt JB Kpierele
  13. O/Cdt IN Paintsil
  14. O/Cdt AY Asiamah
  15. O/Cdt FK Ennin
  16. O/Cdt D Mogeri
  17. O/Cdt GE Afful
  18. O/Cdt CB Awog-Badek
  19. O/Cdt L Ako-Adunvor
  20. O/Cdt DT Odjeawo
  21. O/Cdt D Jatoe
  22. O/Cdt W Agbemava
  23. O/Cdt JM Annak
  24. O/Cdt E Diabene
  25. O/Cdt D Normanyo
  26. O/Cdt VO Asiedu
  27. O/Cdt JA Armaah
  28. O/Cdt POQ Djan
  29. O/Cdt HS Agyeman
  30. O/Cdt Asamoah-Kumi
  31. O/Cdt S Mahama
  32. O/Cdt CI Akrong
  33. O/Cdt S Duku-Boamah
  34. O/Cdt Apau-Karikari
  35. O/Cdt AN Setorwu

Naval Cadets

  1. N/Cdt (GN) GL Bessing
  2. N/Cdt (GN) FA Nyarko
  3. N/Cdt BAS Lawani
  4. N/Cdt JM King
  5. N/Cdt J Baxter
  6. N/Cdt Quartey-Papafio

Air Force Cadets

  1. F/Cdt FA Asante
  2. F/Cdt RY Cole
  3. F/Cdt E Agyen-Frempong
  4. F/Cdt J Adu-Gyamfi
  5. F/Cdt EK Arneson
  6. F/Cdt GS Parker
  7. F/Cdt JY Mensah-Larkai
  8. F/Cdt E Yirenkyi
  9. F/Cdt DA Akrong
  10. F/Cdt E Richardson
  11. F/Cdt E Perdison
  12. F/Cdt M Koranteng
  13. F/Cdt SA Abrokwa
  14. F/Cdt F Apeagyei
  15. F/Cdt BK Vidza
  16. F/Cdt K Amfo-Antiri
  17. F/Cdt JK Montford
  18. F/Cdt MK Appiah
  19. F/Cdt A Ayew
  20. F/Cdt Lawson
  21. F/Cdt S Abudu
  22. F/Cdt S Cheataa-Laryea

Deceased after Commission

  1. Lt Col GY Adjei
  2. Maj VD Gbena
  3. F/Lt S Lartey
  4. F/Lt Matanawui-Ekpe
  5. F/O JY Anokye
  6. Mr J Baxter

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