By Colonel Richard Edukwesi WOANYA
Out-Going Chief Instructor Joint Studies – Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College
In-Coming Director, Support and Demonstration Division – Ghana Military Academy

INTRODUCTION


“To send untrained troops into the field is manslaughter, but to dispatch troops with untrained leaders is murder in the first degree” – Mark D Van Ellis – 2015.

The Ghana Military Academy (GMA) has therefore manufactured and continues to manufacture officers to be commissioned into the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF). GMA has achieved this feat by dint of hard work and realistic training that sharpens the skills of officer cadets and ensures that they are ready to meet the challenges of their calling in Combat and Peace spectrum.

Before you read further it is worthwhile to note that ‘The profession of Arms calls upon the Skill and Sacrifice of its members in ways that no other profession has or will’. Bearing this in mind all raw materials (cadets) who go through the doors and walls of the Academy have been cautioned to ‘abandon all hopes of normal life’. There have been cries in several quarters to tone down the pain that emanates from the manufacturing mill but it is gain saying that ‘no pain, no gain’; you can only acquire the mental and physical endurance required to make the sort of sacrifices that no other profession has or will make by going through the mill irrespective of the pain.

Where do we draw the line between reducing the stress of training and building endurance? Alexander Hamilton posited that ‘War, like most other things, is a science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time and by practice’. The officer must be robust physically and mentally to withstand the stress of peacetime administration as well as realistic battle conditions.

It must be said that the military has no space for slow starters/thinkers. You must have ready answers/solutions to problems through tough training. Proffering pragmatic and suitable solutions to peace and war time challenges must be a reflex action for the officer. Cadets are therefore pushed to the limit of their wits but expected to pass their Exams. Remember, given a relaxed atmosphere, every person can learn and pass Exams but soldering both in peace and war time is stressful.

How can you become acquainted and used to this kind of life? Practice makes man perfect they say; hard on the training ground, easy on the battle field. Remember every cadet has to be willing, ready, determined and focussed to go through the training. It hurts but you love the profession of arms and have faith in the instructors and the process, that it would make you to be what you desire to be – an officer and a gentleman.

Companies and organizations face three central questions in trying to think strategically about present circumstances and prospects; where are we now? Where do we want to reach? And how do we get there? The question “where are we now?” is concerned about the present situation of the company or organisation – its service or market position, how appealing its products or services are to customers, the competitive pressures it confronts, its strength and weakness, and its current performance.

The question about “where do we want to go?” deals with the direction in which management believes the company or organization should be headed in terms of growing the business or services and strengthening the company’s or organizational performance in the years ahead. The question “how will we get there?” concerns crafting and executing a strategy, to get the company or organization from where it is to where it wants to go. For a company to be competitive in the market place or for an organization delivering public services to be efficient and effective, there is the need to have answers to the three questions above and have clear meaningful strategies to achieve them.

As an organisation that celebrated its 50 years a decade plus ago, it is appropriate for GMA to formulate a strategic policy to re-position it to accelerate its growth within the context of these three critical questions. It is gain saying that studying one’s past in the context of contemporary facts and dynamics of life is apparent and a necessity to plan for the future.

The GMA has been manufacturing officers for the past 60 years plus? What is its current state and what has it achieved? Most critically, how do you fathom what the GMA would be like in the next 25 or 50 years? Policies must be formulated at the Political Strategic, Military Strategic and Operational levels for implementation at both operational and tactical levels to make the GMA a modern academy with state-of-the-art facilities. This should inform the celebration of the Diamond Anniversary of our Alma Mater.

The story of GMA should be told succinctly, precisely, without passion or emotions and objectively. It is however worth noting that, this write-up does not, may not and would not be the repository of the story of GMA. Knowledge is like the baobab tree and no one person can embrace the circumference of its stem fully; no one is the repository of knowledge. Hence the writer is not pretending to be the authority on GMA in Retrospect. The story must be told and told well; posterity would not pardon the alumni of GMA if the story is left untold.

It is against this background that ‘once upon a time’, this paper seeks to tell the story of GMA with the view to rekindling nostalgic emotions of GMA in its alumni to lend their individual and collective support to their Alma Mater forecasting into the next 25 to 50 years. The alumni of GMA operating at both military strategic and operational levels’ I suppose will lend their support and credence to whipping this nostalgic feeling in all alumni.

AIM
This paper seeks to tell GMA story with a view to rekindling nostalgic emotions of GMA in its alumni to lend their individual and collective support to their Alma Mater forecasting into the next 25 to 50 years.

BRIEF HISTORY OF GHANA MILITARY ACADEMY

The motto of GMA is SERVICE, DEVOTION and SACRIFICE as enshrined in the GMA Logo. It was established on 1st April, 1960 after years of reliance on foreign Military Academies to commission potential Ghanaian officers for the Ghana Armed Forces. The Academy grew out of the Regular Officers Special Training School (ROSTS) which was established at MATS, Teshie in 1953. This School provided 6 months preparatory training for selected cadets from the British West Africa Colonies; The Gold Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia, prior to their being sent to the UK or other overseas countries for further officer training and commissioning.

Since its creation, the Academy has manufactured about over 6000 officers. The Academy has also trained cadets from some African countries, notably Uganda, Liberia, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and the Republic of Benin. The Academy can boast of alumni who have risen to the highest political office in their respective countries as democratically elected leaders and other responsible and very high-ranking positions in both public and private sectors.

THE COURSE CURRICULUM OF GMA

Mission of GMA.

The mission of GMA is to produce officers of character for the defence of Ghana.

Aim of Training.

The aim of training at the Ghana Military Academy is to develop the qualities of leadership necessary to hold commissioned rank and to provide the basic military knowledge required by the young officer of any Arm or Service so that, after the necessary special to Arm training given by the appropriate Arm or Service, the officer will be fit to be junior commander where his/her powers of physical and mental stamina are of prime importance.

GMA Training Objectives.

The objectives of training at the Military Academy are 5-fold.

These are:
Firstly, to give the officer cadet a broad overview of the military profession as a whole, and his responsibilities as a servant of the state.

Secondly, to develop in the officer cadet the spirit of patriotism, loyalty to and love for his nation.

Thirdly, to develop in the officer cadet the essential military characteristics of leadership and management, sense of discipline and sense of duty.

Fourthly, to develop physical fitness in the officer cadet.

The last but not the least, is to lay down the foundation of military and academic knowledge upon which the studies of future arms or service can be built.

Course End State. The end state of GMA courses is to produce an officer who is physically and mentally fit to act and react as a military officer, and to prepare him/her for further training. The sayings of Master Chief Petty Officer Terry Scot of the United States of America Navy is relevant in this direction, ‘No enemy, whether it’s an opposing force or a natural tragedy, is going to give us time to get fit. Every second in the Academy is micro managed to make sure the cadet makes the optimum use of the limited time. This can be stressful and painful for the cadet. Remember ‘time is an essential factor in an officer’s career’.

Courses Offered. There are Two (2) main courses in GMA; the Regular Course and the Short Service Commission and Special Duties Course (SSC/SD). Special training for medical personnel named as Special Medical Intake (SMI) is held as and when necessary to train selected medical personnel for the Medical Corp of the Ghana Armed Forces. The writer was privileged to be the Chief Training Officer who drew a 3-months package to train SMI One (1) some 12 years ago. Most of the product of SMI One are Major and equivalent with a couple wearing the Lieutenant Colonel rank as at the time of publishing this write up. The SMI course is currently run for 6 months.

Regular Course. The Regular Course was a 22 months course far before the writer was a cadet and up until Regular Career Course (RCC) Intake 51. The writer was the chairperson of the board that reviewed the training pancake and duration of the Regular Course to reflect current trends and the educational background of prospective cadets in 2010. The Regular Course is divided into 2 parts. These are the Standard Military Course (SMC) and the Regular Career Course (RCC)

It is worth noting that the entry requirements for the Regular Course which was the Advance level of Education Certificate has been upgraded to a University Degree, Higher National Diploma or Diploma. Graduates of Senior High School are no longer enlisted. The entry requirement to the various Service-led Recruit Training Centre and the GMA are different. Premised on the change made in the entry qualification, all Regular cadets commission as Lieutenants. The last sets of Second Lieutenants were commissioned with RCC 51 in August 2011.

The Regular Course is tri-service. Naval and Air Force cadets use to leave after the Standard Military Course phase, to begin their appropriate special to service training. This leaves the Army cadets to pursue the Regular Career Course at the GMA, which follows on directly from the Standard Military Course. Naval and Air Force Cadets continue their respective Service training either outside the GMA or at GMA with periodic visits to the various Bases for practical training. In time past the Army Cadets graduate at the GMA whilst their Naval and Air Force colleagues graduate separately and at a later time. Currently the Naval and Air Force Cadets returns to the GMA to join their Army colleagues to graduate together at the GMA.

The SMC phase which was 24 weeks is now 18 weeks whilst the RCC phase is now 46 weeks reviewed from 64 weeks. The Regular Career Course included 8 weeks of parachute training at the Airborne Force located in Tamale. The last intake to undertake parachute training is Intake 59 in 2019. There is also 3 weeks (1 week during SMC and 2 weeks during RCC) of intensive training in jungle operations at the Jungle Warfare School located in Achiase.

The Short Service Commission/Special Duties Course. The Short Service Commission/Special Duties Course which was 32 weeks was also reviewed to 26 weeks. It is run for professionals and servicemen whose services are required by the Armed Forces as specialist officers such as Medical Officers, Nurses, Lawyers, Engineers, Educationists, Pastors, Administrators et cetera. The course leads to a Short Service and Special Duties Commission into the Armed Forces. The entry qualifications include a professional certificate, Diploma or Degree in the field of specialisation and a recommendation in the case of service personnel. Lawyers and Medical officers are commissioned as Captains whilst the rest are commissioned as Lieutenants.

Training Programme/Activities. Officer Cadets are taken through a wide range of subjects as follows:

Tactics Package

Leadership.
Map Reading.
Military Tactics (Conventional, Internal Security/Counter Insurgency, Jungle, Airmobile Operations and Fighting in Built-Up Areas (FIBUA).

Military Studies Package

Drill.
First Aid.
Signals.
Military Law.
Methods of Instruction.
Service Pay and Regt Accounts.
Service Writing.

Skill at Arms Package

Skill at Arms.
Fieldcraft.
PT Package
Physical Training.
Adventure Training. (Horse-riding and mountaineering/rappelling, Parachuting).
Games.
Swimming.

Academic Package

International Affairs.
War Studies.
English and Communication Studies.
Ghanaian Society and the Armed Forces.
Psychology.
French.

It is the candid opinion of the writer that cadets of GMA should be introduced to books like ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu and ‘On War’ by Carl Von Clausewitz. This will help shape their strategic thinking. Cadets must be taught the basics of strategic thought. This will set the tone for further training in strategy and security studies. Cadets should be introduced to the following thought process:

  1. Determine your primary purpose.
  2. Give time for planning and organising.
  3. Understand where you are before trying to develop a strategy.
  4. Prioritise the needs and goals of the team by asking the right questions.
  5. Write goals that are realistic, measurable, and convicting.
  6. Clarify goals and communicate with your team.
  7. Identify possible obstacles.
  8. Have an open system approach to your planning.
  9. Budget your cost and time by scheduling everything you can and setting deadlines.
  10. Study the results. Evaluation prevents stagnation and exaggeration.

WRITTEN AND UNWRITTEN NORMS AND TRADITIONS OF GMA

The GMA has Standing Orders which clearly and undoubtedly stipulates the rules, regulations, norms and values of the Academy. The Standing Orders regulates and micro manages the day-to-day manufacturing process that cadets go through. The Standing Orders has withstood the test of time and updated to meet the challenges of contemporary times. There are however certain rules which are practiced by virtue of unwritten norms which has become the norm. The difficulty has to do with how senior cadets should “dorn” or initiate for want of a better word junior cadet.

Traditions like how new cadets are received have been criticised. The writer can vividly recall how the taxi driver who brought him to GMA on 1st November 1990 was shouted at and chased away with bewildered expression on his face. The writer was ordered to carry his luggage from the cadet mess junction where the monument donated by GMA intake 7 is located. He made to run and hop to the cadet lines. The writer’s new black shoes with leather sole got damaged as a result of hopping. This has been refined over the years.

Subsequent GMA Intakes since 2011 did not go through that ordeal. They were driven right to the front of the cadet mess and walked up the staircase to go through the reception formalities. It is hoped that this has come to stay and may not be changed depending on the beliefs and perceptions of command, staff and instructors at the GMA at a time.

There are countless numbers of practices and norms in the cadet lines which may not be in tandem with the written norms of the Academy. Most of these may not be known to instructors as what pertained during their time might have faded away and new ones initiated. They only with hindsight as alumni are privy to some of these unwritten norms. The pattern has not however changed so much. Certain practices like asking cadets to go under the shower wearing suit or KD shorts and roll on the lawns are a thing of the past. Continuous ‘jumping’ from the mess and sleepless nights with ‘ginger’ cadets singing, shouting out the time, running, hopping and going through log exercise all night long is also history. It is the candid opinion of the writer that cadets can be toughened without necessarily being subjected to inhuman treatment by their seniors.

Cadets become weak and frail going for days without food and sleep. Instructors cannot specify how “donning” should go on in the lines or what should constitute “donning”. Would it be rather proper to ban it and allow ‘ginger’ and junior cadets to sleep and walk about freely and be transformed into the robust and toughened officers? Can instructors alone mould the finished product of the Academy? How can cadets who commit minor offence be reprimanded other than being asked to ‘double’ around the lines?

The writer’s experience with ECOMOG

GHANBATT 7 as a platoon commander brought to fore the endurance to live on just enough food; rebels usually attack when ration was brought forward to troops’ trenches. The writer was able to go through the stress of fighting Charles Taylor and his rebels during the advance to capture Buchanan in Liberia because of the toughness and endurance built through these irregular training at the Cadet lines. A little bit of stress and ‘jumping’ is good and necessary but the axiom ‘too much of everything is bad’ comes handy and relevant in this context. Senior cadets should not do unto ‘gingers’ and junior cadets what they would not want others to do unto them.

INDUCTION/ORIENTATION TRAINING

New intakes are ushered into the Academy with a one-week induction training to give the new cadets an initial exposure to military culture and test their determination and will-power before they commence training in GMA. The Induction training is now referred to as Orientation Training. This was not the case when the writer was a cadet. This probably was introduced with GMA intake 37 and has been maintained till today. The writer had the privileged to write the instructions and draw the training programme for induction/orientation training of SMC 51 and SSC/SD 49.

He went on recce to Bundase Training Camp (BTC) and also accompanied SMC 51 cadets on the day they reported to the BTC for their induction (Sunday 15 October 2009). Cadets were driven up to the grenade range from where they walk and jogged to the camp in the scorching sun. The weather was unfriendly and some cadets especially the females did not have it easy. However, they all got to the camp and went through the induction training successfully.

The change is quite drastic and sudden for civilians who have just reported for training. The question to be addressed is whether the orientation training at BTC is relevant considering the fact that 36 intakes out of all GMA intakes did not go through it but went through the initial military training at the Academy premises.

Critiques believe that the ‘gingering’ at the cadet lines is enough to prepare cadets for the tough, arduous, stressful and long period of training at GMA. I am not too sure about this assertion as those who went through and those who did not, successfully completed the training at the GMA and are all doing well as officers.

The writer believes the orientation training should be maintained and improved upon. It could be scrapped off if it is found not to be relevant. Surprisingly cadets during course critique suggested that the orientation training should be increased to two (2) weeks. This obviously is because the heat from continuing cadets in the lines is greater and stressful than at the BTC. The writer would go along with whatever command would decide by quoting General Ulyssess (1862) ‘As long as I hold a commission in the Army I have no views of my own to carry out. Whatever may be the orders of my superiors and the law, I will execute. No man can be efficient as a commander who sets his own notions above the law…and those he has sworn to obey’.

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

Humans detest confinement of any form. God has placed in the heart of humans the freedom of association, movement and the free will to determine where they want to be at what time and for what purpose. The 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana affirms this inherent right of humans. However, the tenets of the military profession require military personnel (civilians in uniform) to swear an oath of allegiance to defend the territorial integrity of Ghana by land, sea and air to the peril of their life.

The question is how you do you transform civilians into robust and hardened soldiers; considering the fact that they have been socialised in different environments with different beliefs, norms, values and perception premised on freedom of expression, and movement; and all the inherent rights that the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana and tenets of International Human Rights. How can the Academy manufacture a fearless and toughened end product from a raw material that has a will to refuse the value of withstanding fear and extreme danger to the peril of his life?

There is only one antidote; that is developing the mental and physical endurance. A soldier has to be strong in the mind. Bob Marley the legend Reggae Musician posited that ‘he who fights and run away, lives to fight another day’. A soldier’s courage should not waiver in the face of extreme danger. Can you imagine going to an operation (internal/external peacekeeping/peace enforcement or low/high intensity conflict/war) with junior commanders and they desert you due to extreme danger, loneliness and absence of all the ‘goodies’ of life?

Soldiering is about endurance and you cannot endure without being strong in the mind. The story is told of Nelson Mandela flying on an airplane with others. The pilot suddenly announced to the crew and passengers that there was a likelihood of an imminent crush hence they should prepare for crush landing. Everybody visibly showed signs of fear except Mandela. Mandiba remained calm despite the visible signs of fear shown by the rest. Fortunately, the airplane landed safely. A bewildered young man asked Mandela why he was not scared. Mandela explained that all human fear danger but express it at varying degrees. He admitted he was scared but kept his calm. Mandela developed this unusual stability of emotions and character supposedly in solitary confinement during his incarceration.

Cadets grumble when they are denied walkout. There is a reason for every activity in GMA. An instructor or senior cadet may engage cadets for hours. This is to imbued tolerance in them. Who has not questioned some of the requirement to be meticulous in all that a cadet does? Can you imagine a young officer deployed with armed troops to disperse a crowd wavering under threats from the crowd or gets angry as a result of insults from the crowd? Your guess is as good as mine.

Cadets are ‘banged’ in sometimes deliberately to help them build that inner strength to live and survive in any terrain; the popular axiom is ‘happy yourself’ is taught at the Cadet lines. A person’s happiness must not be dependent solely on factors external to him; over which he has no control. He/she should be happy irrespective of factors external and beyond his/her control. The writer vividly recounts his experience when he was deployed with troops at Saboba in north eastern part of the Northern Region of Ghana. Their task was to keep the peace during the internal crisis that ravaged that part of the country in 1993/94. There was no electricity in Saboba, no refrigeration hence all fresh fish and meat were smoked. There was no television, radio and any form of ‘goodies’ of city life.

Troops were deployed four months before they were rotated. The only source of entertainment was morning endurance run. The writer spends his day whilst not on patrols listening to the army radio net. He learnt playfair, slidex and upgraded his voice procedure with the help of the radio operator. He sometimes received and transmitted messages. The on-the-job experience of young officers deployed in 6 Garrison in Tamale is overly inclined to internal security operations in rural settings and low intensity conflicts. Two young officers belonging to GMA intake 33(the writer’s immediate juniors), Lt Agbanyo and Lt Gbadaglo lost their lives whilst deployed in Northern Region during the crisis in the North.

Another relevant experience was when the writer and most of his intake mates were deployed with ECOMOG GHANBATT 7 in Liberia from February to September 1993; just a few months after commissioning on 14 August 1992. The GHANBATT as part of 13 Brigade (made up of two Nigerian battalions and the Airborne Force of Ghana); under the able command of Brigadier General Mojakperu of Nigeria advanced from Monrovia (‘foot-rised’ infantry) to capture Buchanan. The duration of the operation as defined by the advance to contact orders projected was prolonged hence logistics procured for that period was challenged. Before the advance the writer and his platoon was co-located with the company headquarters with another platoon at Konkibili, a notorious ambush curve for The National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels. They were in defence for three weeks, living in trenches without bathing for almost twenty days.

The longest defensive exercise in GMA during the cadet days of the writer was three days so it was stressful, terrifying and demoralising. You must be strong in the mind to go through this. There was no walkout or sleep out and rebels attack when ration vehicle arrives. Bathing was organised near a water body flowing ahead of the defensive area after twenty days in defence. One goes with a sentry and they alternate to protect each other whilst bathing.

A rebel was killed with the body left rotten close to the defensive area; the platoon had to bury the body due to the stench. The writer’s intake mate was hit by a bullet during the advance; he survived anyway. Three of the writer’s troops became casualties during a patrol from their main defensive position in Buchanan; one soldier died on the spot, two got injured (one had one of his eyes replaced with a cat’s eye – he is now deceased). The third soldier is still alive and he is now working with the UN.

There is no other way to survive these traumatic experiences than through hard training to toughen the cadet mentally and physically. The writer recounts news of the experience of troops in Afghanistan and their violent behaviour towards their spouses when they returned home. This was due to the traumatic experience at the battle front that troops had to contend with. A tragic event occurred within the rank and file of the US Armed Forces as a result of stress from war. The Fort Hood killings send chills down the spine of Americans. The incident was reported on the internet as follows:

“While it is still unclear what led a US army major to shoot dead 13 people on a Texas army base, the killings come at a time when US forces are under increased strain from repeated combat tours and suffering from a marked rise in suicides and depression. Dr Joseph Mancusi once directed the largest programme of psychology in the world for the US Veterans Administration. He says current US military leaders may need to do more to protect their soldiers from the impact of modern warfare. No war is like any other war. Only one thing remains constant: Old men send young men into battle.

Wives and girlfriends cry and wait for the final homecoming. With victory, bands play, medals are given and the warrior goes home to heal and forget. But what if there are battles won and no victory? What if there is no time to go home, heal and make the horrors part of the past? What if you are sent to war again and again before your mind and relationships heal? What if there is no final homecoming? That is where we find ourselves today. There are additional dilemmas facing the American warrior today. Fathers and mothers leave sons, daughters and partners behind. Men return to families that have adjusted to new roles without them.

After returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres, the sounds of war are barely out of their heads when it is time to return to the battle. The past tells us that old military men were more interested in new hardware than new treatment approaches for the wounded warrior. The stress associated with this type of warfare, the open-ended nature of the conflicts and the repeated re-entries into civil society have resulted in severe stresses not previously seen.

When I treated Vietnam veterans in the US Veterans Administration medical system, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was not an accepted diagnosis. It was not (and still is largely not) possible to be a warrior and admit to damage that could not be measured by shrapnel removed, eyes lost or legs shortened. The military in the USA has started to change its approach. The focus is now on both the warrior and the mission. The military realises that warriors cannot be sorted into just two piles: whole and broken.”

Ghana is enjoying a comparatively peaceful atmosphere hence GAF is a currently largely a peacetime Armed Forces hence a lot of people want to soldier; but remember soldiering is more of fighting the enemy, rebels or terrorist in low or high intensity conflict and warfare. The notion of war and battle that most people and for that matter Ghanaian Officers and Men alike, had was derived from newspaper stories, books about war, and movies. Even servicemen were inclined to accept this notion since most of them by far had never seen fought in a war scenario.

Otherwise, their real feelings and decisions would have been that, war was madness beyond justification in any case. It has always been a Military coup with armed soldiers against unarmed civilians or peacekeeping with limited powers to fight back; you are at the receiving end, very sober and praying to return home in peace and not in pieces.

May be for those who have operated especially in the conflicts in Tamale, Yendi, Saboba and its environs and in Bawku a low intensity conflict with those disturbing the peace armed like the soldiers would appreciate the war time role of a soldier. A lot of unemployed graduates are now applying to commission as officers and men of the Ghana Armed Forces ignorant of working under such stressful conditions and the requirement to go to war. I hope they do understand the profession of arms and are willing to withstand the trauma of warfare; to the extent of killing although the faith of some calls on them not to kill.

CONCEPT OF TRAINING

The concept of training at the GMA is premised on the fact that if a person listens to a presentation or lecture he/she may recollect about 30% of what was delivered; if the person watches a film or demonstration after listening to the presentation or lecture the retention rate increases to 60%; however, if he/she put into practice the activity after lectures and watching a film or demonstration almost 90% is recollected. This informed the method of imparting knowledge at the Academy.

CONCLUSION

Rudyad Kipling posited that ‘Nations have passed away and left no traces and history gives the naked cause of it; one single simple reason in all cause: They fell because their people were not fit. Mental and physical fitness is the bedrock of military character and success; it cannot be acquired on a silver platter. Military training is ‘not normal’; it is not about brute strength neither is it about the ability to run fast or long distance; the military would have given uniforms to boxers, martial art experts and athletes without basic military training. It is about endurance; it’s a place for those who can go the extra mile to run when they do not feel like it, to fight in the novices boxing competition when they are not professionals or provoked.

Athletes and all other persons who engage in other sporting activities do so because they enjoy what they do, do it for a living and do it at their own time and convenience. The cadet has no option but to run before he walks. What an irony, the natural order is for humans to crawl and walk before they run but for the first eight weeks during the cadet days of the writer, the ginger cadet ‘doubles’ (run) and shouts out the time wherever he/she goes (either alone or with his colleagues). What is normal about this?

The GMA has the role of manufacturing competent officers for the Ghana Armed Forces, and to some extent, other African countries. The training is dynamic and the courses have been designed to bring the best out of the individual. This can be effectively and efficiently achieved by constantly reviewing the training packages to conform with contemporary threats and challenges and formulating a policy directive to fathom what the GMA should be in 25 or 50 years from now.

The Alumni of GMA have a responsibility to lend their support, financial or otherwise to help shape the Officer Factory into producing adaptable human resource for national development.

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