By Colonel Richard Edukwesi WOANYA
Director Support and Demonstration
Ghana Military Academy

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11

INTRODUCTION
Military parades are held for several and diverse reasons by different militaries all over the world. At the national level military parades may be held to mark a national event like Independence Day Celebration. For instance, Ghana’s Independence Day Parade is held on 6th of March every year. Other occasions will be remembering those who fell (passed on) in line of duty defending their country or fighting for a worthy cause.

Ghana joins other Commonwealth member states every year to hold the Remembrance Day Parade also known as Poppy Day owing to the tradition of wearing a remembrance poppy.

This year’s (2022) Poppy Day celebrations was launched on Wednesday 26 October 2022. This parade is held to commemorate the end of the First World War and to honour the memory of members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.

Another popular parade most Ghanaians are familiar with because of the wide media coverage, is the 28th February Crossroads Parade. This parade is a solemn flag raising and wreath-laying ceremony to mark the Christiansburg Crossroads shooting which is celebrated every year to honour the memory of the 3 ex-servicemen who were killed in 1948 by the colonial police while marching to Osu Castle to present a petition to the then Governor.

Seventy-four years ago, on February 28, 1948, a group of ex-servicemen embarked on a peaceful parade at the crossroads near the Governor’s office in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) to present a petition to him about unpaid wages and broken promises after their fight for the British in the second World War. The police rather opened fire on them, killing three ex-servicemen instantly.

This resulted in a series of riots and protests and eventually marked the beginning of the process of independence for the Gold Coast – the first colony in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence.

The military as an institution also holds parades on its own to welcome troops returning home from foreign missions; for instance, from United Nations Peacekeeping Mission(s); such parades are commonly referred to as Mission Accomplished Parade. Military parades are also held to showcase a country’s military capability, to reassure the nation and its populace as a whole of a safe and secured country. On some specific occasions military parades are held to inspect military equipment and personnel to ascertain the state of their combat readiness.

At the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) several low key parades are held during an officer cadets training period. They are referred to as low key because these parades are largely patronised by mostly instructors and staff of the Academy and are not given media publicity like those mentioned earlier. The popular, widely publicised and well known GMA parade known to majority of Ghanaians and the world at large is the GMA Graduation Parade.

The reviewing officer for the GMA graduation Parade is, HE the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana ArmedForces, currently HE Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. Officer cadets look up to this all important parade not only because it marks a major and permanent change in their status from being subordinate officers to becoming commissioned officers of the professional and prestigious Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) but because of the status of the reviewing officer; no other person than HE Mr. President of the Republic.

Officers of the GAF by constitutional provision are awarded the Presidential Commission as provided for under Chapter 17, Article 212 (3) as follows, “The President shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Armed Forces Council, grant commissions to officers of the Armed Forces.”

Some of the parades held at the GMA are Tattoo Parade, Changing Parade, Muster parade, Restriction Parade, “Passing off the Square” Parade and extra drill parade amongst others. It is worth stating that ‘Passing off the Square’ is an anxious moment for most cadets as Officer Cadets do not have walking-out and sleeping-out privileges until they ‘Pass Off the Square’.

Other occasions that officer cadets are coached on military parades are during Junior Steeplechase competition, Novices Boxing, Change of Status Parade and Seniour Steeplechase competition. It is apparent that parades are standard military culture which helps shape the discipline and reflexes of the young officer. It is a relevant military tradition which must be maintained and preserved.

There is also the need to publicized some of the low key parades held at the GMA to bridge any existing gaps and strengthen existing bridges promoting civil military cooperation between the Ghana Armed Forces and the larger Ghanaian populace. It is against this backdrop that this write-up seeks to give the general Ghanaian populace an insight into the essence and conduct of Change of Status Parade for officer cadets of GMA.

AIM
The aim of this write-up is to acquaint the Ghanaian populace with the essence and conduct of Change of Status Parade held for officer Cadets at the GMA.

STATUS AND STATUS SYMBOL

Status can be defined as the relative social or professional position or standing of a person. The status of a person is described as relative because it places the person either higher or lower in a hierarchy of authority or command in military parlance to his or her peers, colleagues at work or friends et cetera.

It portrays either ranking or social standing of a person premised on official classification given to the person which determines the individual or group’s rights and responsibilities. It may apply to countries and organizations within a defined context amongst the comity of Nations and the national and international setting respectively.
The visible manifestation of a person’s status, ranking or social standing is portrayed with a status symbol which is either worn as an insignia or held as a staff of authority depending on the organizational culture. The status symbol changes as one goes up and down the hierarchy. In a nutshell, a status symbol is understood as the apparent, interpreted and external indication of the social, economic standing or position of an individual as per the set parameters of the organization, industry or society.

This write-up will however be limited to the importance of status and use of status symbol in the military/Ghana Armed Forces or specifically amongst officer cadets of the GMA.

The military thrives on hierarchy of status or authority and this is displayed with varied insignia of ranks, gorgets, regimental or corps lanyards, aiguillettes, badges worn, staff of authority, uniforms et cetera. The military hierarchy of authority just as any bureaucratic institution assumes the shape of a pyramid with just a selected and privileged few going up the tip of the pyramid as they progress in their career.

The Bible stands tall as the origin of most tested traditions and customs not only for most modern societies and cultures but most militaries. I read about the use and essence of bugles in the military in the bible when armies that go to battle use it for reasons which are still a norm in today’s military context. In 1 Corinthians 14:8 the Infallible Word of God says, “If a bugle doesn’t sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”

Young Officers during their regimental training are taught different bugle calls and expected reflex action/response that is observed at the unit level and the GAF level. Additionally, Jeremiah 4:21 says, “How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags and hear the military signals of their bugles?”. Another significant outward exhibition of change in a person’s status is change of clothes or dresses to signify a change in status. This is also a relevant ceremony in the Bible. Example of such instances can be found in the following Bible verses:

Genesis 35:2
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments;
Genesis 41:14
Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
Leviticus 6:11
Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place.
Ezekiel 42:14
When the priests enter, then they shall not go out into the outer court from the sanctuary without laying there their garments in which they minister, for they are holy. They shall put on other garments; then they shall approach that which is for the people.”
Ezekiel 44:19
When they go out into the outer court, into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers; then they shall put on other garments so that they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.
Daniel 5:7
The king called aloud to bring in the conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners. The king spoke and said to the wise men of Babylon, “Any man who can read this inscription and explain its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck, and have authority as third ruler in the kingdom.”
Zechariah 3:3-4
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him ” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.
John 19:2
And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;
Matthew 22:11
“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes…”

These verses portray the importance of the change in the status of a person with the resultant changes in roles which leads to change of clothes and or insignia. The military has several and varied clothes that can only be worn by officers and men based on their status. One’s clothes and insignia changes as ones’ status changes in conformity to this bible principle. Joseph as a prisoner was robed as such but when his status changed to become a Governor he wore clothes that matched his new status.

CHANGE IN THE STATUS OF OFFICER CADETS

Ghana Armed Forces, General Headquarters (GHQ), determines and specifies the times Cadets are enlisted for training at the GMA. Each Course of cadets is assigned an Intake number which follows serially from the preceding Course and is prefixed by the type of Course.

For instance, the writer’s course is Regular Career Course (RCC) 32 whilst the course on training at the GMA currently is RCC 62. It is worth noting that, all officer cadets per the provision of the Armed Forces Act 1962 (AFA 1962) are Subordinate Officers in the hierarchy of status of the GAF until they are commissioned and their status changes to Commissioned Officers.

The Academy runs the Standard Military Course (SMC) which is of 12 weeks’ duration and the RCC which is of 48 weeks’ duration. The Short Service Commission and Special Duty Course (SSC&SD) which is of 24 weeks’ duration. The GMA determines the duration of any other special course.

The SMC is a tri-Service Course. It involves a minimum of 6 weeks Induction Training (Ginger Period) and 12 weeks of basic military training. Cadets are required to Pass-Off the Square after completion of the induction period. The transition from SMC to RCC is marked by a “Change of Status Parade”. The practice in the past was that Naval and Air Force cadets leave the Academy after the SMC course to continue their special to service training at their respective special to service training institutions.

However, the current practice requires Naval and Air Force cadets to conduct their special to service training at the GMA with periodic visits to their respective Bases for practical training. The RCC is a 48-week special to service training phase of the course. It follows directly from the SMC until graduation. The SSC&SD course is a 6-month intensive course for selected soldiers and civilians with special or professional qualifications.

Another important nomenclature of the status of officer cadets is the Seniority Status. The change in the seniority status of officer cadets is not marked with a parade it is effected by publication in the unit’s Part 1 Routine Orders. The only change in status that is marked with a parade is the change from Juniour to Intermediate Cadet. The schedule for change in the seniority status of officer cadets is as follows:

a. SMC /RCC Cadets.
(1) Junior Cadet – Terms 1 and 2 (up to change of Status Parade).
(2) Intermediate Cadet – Terms 2 and 3 (up to arrival of new Intake).
(3) Senior Cadet – Upon arrival of a new intake, and Term 4.

b. SSC/SD Cadets.
(1) Junior Cadet – Term 1.
(2) Senior Cadet – Term 2 (After Novices Boxing).

REGULAR CAREER COURSE 62 CHANGE OF STATUS PARADE

The Change of Status Parade for RCC 62 came off on Wednesday 02 November 2022 on the GMA Parade Square.

The writer stood in for the Commandant of the Academy – Major General Charles Kojo Abede Asomaning Awity as the Reviewing Officer for the parade.

Senior officers who were present at the parade were the Chief Coordinator – Colonel Frederick Ntiri, Director Military Division – Colonel Kwesi Ayima and Chief Instructor Joint Studies – Colonel Joshua Amanor. The Academy Sergeant Major – Master Warrant Officer Gane Frederick was also present.

In all a total of 204 officer cadets took part in the parade. In attendance was all instructors and staff of the GMA.

The Change of Status Parade started at 0745hrs/7:45am with the parade Commander marching the officer cadets on parade. The Reviewing Officer arrived at 0800hrs/8am. After taking the ceremonial salute (The Academy Anthem) he was accompanied by the parade Commander and the Drill Sergeant Major of the Academy, Seniour Warrant Officer Logah Abla Patience to inspect the officer cadets on parade.

The Cadet Parade Commander was Cadet Sergeant Kanton Nenkenmie Baveru and the Cadet Parade Warrant Officer was Cadet Corporal Quartey Mavis Kwakor. The parade Commander after the inspection asked for permission to continue with the parade. The parade went through an excellent display of (no words of command) rifle exercise at a halt working on the up system. The parade then advanced in review order in slow and quick time after the excellent display. The parade commander then reported to the Reviewing Officer and asked for permission to stand the parade at ease for his address.

The Reviewing Officer during the address he read on behalf of the Commandant GMA conferred onto the Officer Cadets of RCC 62 the status of Intermediate Cadet. The change from Juniour to Intermediate status was occasioned by the completion of the SMC phase and the commencement of the RCC phase which was marked with the observance of the change of status parade. The cadets are now Intermediate Cadets and will become Seniour Cadets in January 2023 just before the arrival of SSC&SD 60.

Their insignia will change to the insignia reserved for senior cadets. They will also have the unique privilege and responsibility to occupy enviable cadet appointments which will give them the rear opportunity and responsibility of maintaining discipline at the cadet lines (accommodation) and the mess. This will help develop and sharpen their leadership, command and managerial abilities.

As an outward expression of the change in their status and when they are published as Seniour Cadets they will hold the following appointments and will wear the following badges as Rank:

a. Seniour Under Officer – 3 gold bars on a red background with a star on crossed sword.

b.  Juniour Under Officer   -   2 gold bars on a red background.

c. Cadet Sergeant Major – One gold bar on a red background with a star on crossed sword and a sash.

d. Cadet Staff Sergeant – 3 gold chevrons and a gold dot.

e. C/CQMS – 3 gold chevrons on a red background with star on crossed swords.

f.  Cadet Sergeant  -   3 gold chevrons on a red background.

g.  Cadet Corporal  -   2 gold chevrons on a red background.

EXPECTATIONS OF THE COMMANDANT GMA AND HIS STAFF

Occurrences in real life scenarios has different connotations for different people. Hence, in the same vein the Commandant GMA and his staff made inferences to their Change in Status Parade. It is pertinent to note that their individual experiences and emotions are likely to be different from that of officer cadets of RCC 62. It is also supposed that most officers who read this article will have nostalgic feelings decades into the past.

This is the time to visit and support your alma mater in cash and kind to help build the foundation of future Command and Staff Officers of the GAF. The Commandant, his deputy Brigadier General Charles Adu-Brempong and staff inferring from their individual and collective experiences have very high expectations from the change that was marked with a parade. Officer cadets of RCC 62 have no option than to leave up to the expectations of the Commandant and his staff.

Reiterating the quote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things” – 1 Corinthians 13:11, it is pertinent to sate without mincing words that the expectation of the Commandant and his staff is in tandem with the infallible Word of God. The infractions of a Juniour Cadet are the responsibility of his or her sponsor who is a Seniour Cadet. However, upon assuming the status of Intermediate Cadet an officer cadet is held responsible for his/her actions, utterances, and inactions.

The legendary Robert Nesta Marley in the song The Real Situation made the statement “once a man and twice a child”. This statement literally means one was born a child became a man and have to unlearn the old and bad ways of doing things as a child and to learn all over again as an adult novel and better ways of doing things. This concept accurately refers to a paradigm change in one’s life from old ways of doing things to comparatively better and matured ways of doing things.

In Biblical context it signifies being metamorphosed from the old nature to the new nature as postulated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” What this means is that when God looks at you, He does not see that which was wrong in your life before you were born again, all have been forgiven and you have been given a clean sheet to start all over with new, matured and better way of doing things the Kingdom way.

Inferring from the quote by Nesta Marley and the Wailers and the Bible Principle in 2 Corinthians 5:17 the Academy training is structured such that the SMC phase assists officer cadets to unlearn certain norms and values they have been cultured with that are inimical to the core values of the GAF officer corps and the broader and world-wide military culture and traditions.

This change is supposed to then prepare the officer cadets to be ready and amenable to change and to imbibe the hardcore military traditions and culture of peacetime administration and war fighting skills. They are not expected to be exhibiting character traits and values which are inimical to their ability to learn novel military core values during the RCC Phase of their training. For instance, one of the causes for releasing a cadet from the Academy and thereby not continuing with the training is lack of officer qualities.

Per the GMA Standing Orders, officer qualities include honesty, loyalty, courage, selflessness and perseverance. The SMC phase is to inculcate these values in the officer cadet to prepare him/her to go through the RCC phase. Other equally important values the officer cadet must acquire at the Academy are leadership and management values, sense of discipline and LOYALTY TO COUNTRY AT ALL TIMES NO MATTER WHAT.

After the Change of Status parade, officer cadets are no more Junior Cadet as their status have changed to Intermediate Cadets. They are prepared during the Intermediate Cadet status to become Seniour Cadets to hold cadet command appointments over 500 plus officer cadets in a couple of months. No mediocre performance would be expected of them. The stakes are high and so the expectations are equally very high.

Pursuant to this, their performance must commensurate with the expectations of the Commandant and his staff. In summary, when they were Ginger and Juniour cadets they thought and talked like a child but as they became Intermediate Cadets preparing to become Seniour Cadets they must put away childish ways. They must talk and behave like matured adults with military precision. Their ranks, insignia and dress code/turnout must befit the status of Seniour Cadets. No wishy-washy turn out, standards or output will be countenanced. They will be answerable for every idle word uttered and every infraction as individuals and as a team.

The concept of electrification will be applied to instill the military culture/value of team work and being each other’s keeper.

Standards cannot be lowered or compromised, as come August or September 2023 the Commandant must present to HE the President, Seniour Graduating cadets who are ready and willing to be commissioned. The Presidential Commission cannot be taken for granted on a silver platter, it must be earned.

There are high expectations from the Military High Command that the Commandant and his team of instructors and administrative staff are capable and willing to transform the officer cadets into adaptable human resource for national development within the context of current national and international security milieu.

Additionally, the parents of the officer cadets and the Ghanaian populace as a whole are expectant of well trained and behaved officers who can hold the security of the country intact and hand it over to the next generation of military officers. We cannot afford to fail the President and the people of Ghana and the Military High Command who through the President has reposed this confidence in us. We acknowledge the highest calling of the military profession, that is training others to become soldiers and will live no stone unturned to achieve our mandate and end state.

CONCLUSION

To reiterate, change is the only constant in life. There is no way to stop the process of change hence the only way forward is to prepare for it and to manage it appropriately to maximize its benefits. The status of officer cadets and their predecessors and successors will not remain stagnant as the officer factory continues to manufacture more products.

The factory is poised and motivated to give off its optimum performance to make sure that well trained and equipped officer cadets are presented to HE Mr. President come the day that their status will change from Subordinate to Commissioned Officers. It is our fervent hope and prayer that God will give us the wisdom, diligence, fortitude, resilience, patience and knowledge to deliver on our mandate.

Our expectations are also high that our efforts will be complimented and enhance by receiving the needed support from all alumni of the GMA. We call on them to lend their utmost support in kind and cash to help build upon and maintain the State of Art facilities at the GMA.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here