By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Bundase
Soldiers do not express emotions while in uniform, but there was an exception when military personnel under pre-deployment training at the Bundase Battle Training Camp, could not hold back but burst into spontaneous applause and extensive standing ovation, for the Army Commander – Major General (Maj Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah, who envisioned and has embarked on rapid transformation of the camp.
The occasion was the commissioning of a new 1,000-capacity ultra-modern auditorium with an attached 70-seater conference room, on Monday, April 12, 2021, with the Guest-of-Honour being the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) – Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Frank Hanson.
Air Marshal Hanson expressed delight at developments at the camp and promised to take a cue from the Army, in the “commissioning spree” and get the Air Force to get into such elements, to help lift the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), to higher levels.
The CAS stated further that the modern troops accommodation and other facilities being provided, are intended at the camp becoming a modern Peace Operations Training school.
At a brief durbar with Ghana Battalion 9 (GHANBATT 9) for United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS), the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) – Maj Gen Oppong-Peprah urged personnel of the Ghana Army, not to see progress made in general infrastructural provision obtained in less than a year, as a success by “General Oppong-Peprah”, but as what teamwork can do, in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.
The COAS reiterated his vision of a well-trained, well-motivated, well-resourced Army that is capable of performing any assignment tasked, “and that is exactly what my staff and I are pursuing”.
He recounted a few developments, such as working with General Headquarters (GHQ) to increase salaries, providing accommodation for personnel of units outside Accra, who come to the capital to perform assigned tasks, at Five Battalion of Infantry (5Bn), another behind the Arakan Officers Mess, and other ones at One Battalion of Infantry (1Bn) amongst many, all from the chest of the Army.
“All these tell us that when you stay united, there is nothing that you cannot do. And I promise you that if we work together, in the few couple of years before I bow out of office, you will see the change that we can make”, the Army Commander stated amidst deafening acclaim.
“Today, there are signs of unity amongst us, but it should not be about me, but about me and my team, of which all of you soldiers, are part. Carry this attitude and tell yourself that ‘there is nothing that would stop me, it is a forward march and I will march on”, General Oppong-Peprah stated.
Finally, the COAS intimated to the soldiers about training regimes; “I am not training soldiers to compete with antelopes and horses, so do not be afraid of training, just do your best”, and the response was by no means little.
The 1,000-seater edifice, can be used as a lecture hall and church services, and is fitted with two electronic projectors with large screens, public address systems, air-conditions, televisions, ceiling fans etc.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony included the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Southern Command – Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Michael Amoah Ayisi, Director-General, International Peace Support Operations (IPSO) – Brig Gen Kwesi Mends, Director-General Logistics – Brig Gen Prince Osei-Owusu, Chief Staff officer (CSO), Army – Brig Gen Agyemang-Prempeh and the CEO, Silicon Pro – Sam Opare-Agyemang.