By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Bundase
“I never could have guessed how far this training facility would have come since my last visit. I’m very impressed”, was the expression of the Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Ghana, Her Excellency (HE) Stephanie Sullivan, when she outdoored a new 40-kilometer radius capability communication network, for the Bundase Training Center (BTC) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
The presentation ceremony of the $300,000-worth state-of-the-art Motorola communication network package, funded through the U.S. Department of State and the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) program, which took place at the BTC, on Friday, 26th March, 2021, had the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of GAF – Major General (Maj Gen) Thomas Oppong-Peprah, as the Guest of Honour.
Ambassador Sullivan continued; “Believe it or not, I had the honour of visiting BTC during my previous assignment in Ghana over 20 years ago, I must say, things have changed; and changed for the better. This outdooring today is proof of that change”
HE Ambassador Sullivan stated that part of the package of her government to the BTC, was installing a pipeline to bring running water to the military training facility and its nearby community, later this year, to aid GAF use the center for pre-deployment training ahead of United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Delivering his speech, Maj Gen Oppong-Peprah said, communication is the nerve and voice of the command elements of every army, and its incorporation into the training of GAF, brings an added advantage of putting reality into its training.
General Oppong-Peprah further stated that expanding the Very High Frequency (VHF) communication of BTC, does not only improve the communication and monitoring of training in the area, but also expands the modules of training that can be done at BTC, and enhances the security of troops on navigation exercises around the environs of the camp.
The COAS additionally said that, preceding the handing over ceremony, the US Embassy embarked on a joint reconnaissance of the general area with GAF, conducting Station Orientation Training, including the installation of the repeaters and the operation of 100 Hand Held Radios, for 25 personnel of the 1 Signal Regiment – the Unit responsible for providing efficient and effective communication support for GAF.
There had also been a maintenance training already undertaken for personnel and donations of vehicles and office machines, through the same initiative.
The BTC, with a vision of transitioning into a regional training centre of excellence, hence undergoing a massive facelift, had been in dire need of standard facilities, as GAF personnel undergoing periodic pre-deployment training, made do with makeshift tents and camp beds for accommodations, amongst many deficiencies.
Now, the camp has some modern accommodation of two one hundred-bed facilities and one fifty-bed, and an almost completed modern auditorium, with a conference room.
Prior to the installation of the new network, the camp was equipped with one which could only cover a range of 12-kilometers radius, with challenges, however, after the new installation, it can now operate 25-kilometers radius of the 40-kilometer capacity, with 10 repeaters and 100 handsets.
The communications network, presented under the GPOI initiative, which was formerly the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA), if fully maximized, has the capacity to enroll the Ghana Navy, from Prampram, to communicate with Bundase, Afienya, Dawhenya and Tsopoli.
Present at the program included the Director-General, International Peace Support Operations (IPSO) – Brigadier General (Brig Gen) Kwesi Mends, the Commander, Support Services Brigade Group – Brig Gen Matthew Essien, the Chief Staff Officer (CSO), Ghana Army – Brig Gen Agyemang-Prempeh, the Director of Army Peacekeeping Operations – Colonel Joseph Amanor and the Director, Communications.