By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie
In continuation of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) recruitment process, about 140 recruits selected from a public vetting process are now set and ready to undergo training for admission into the new AFL.
This first batch of 140 recruits comprising 121 males and 19 females is part of a nationwide recruitment exercise which started in April 2013 covering the three recruiting regions of the country.
There were 992 candidates who were successful at the end of the exercise and forwarded for vetting. But of this number, 779 candidates successfully passed the vetting process and their photos were published for public vetting. From the ongoing public vetting, 140 recruits were carefully selected based on the order of merit.
At the program marking the induction ceremony of the 140 recruits yesterday at the Tubman Military Academy in Todee, Montserrado County, the Commandant of the Armed Forces Training Command (AFTC) Lt.Col. T.A. Dana told reporters that the recruit training and all subsequent recruit trainings will be independently conducted with high level of professionalism and commitment to ensure that the country would have the best from the best.
Lt. Col. Dana said the Training Command currently has 7 qualified DS who were trained in Fort Jackson, USA. Among the 7 DS, he added that two are females. Since the inception of the new AFL in July 2006, this recruitment is the first major recruit training that will witness AFL molding these recruits into full fledged professional citizens’ soldiers.
In a brief remark, the Commanding Officer in Charge of the AFL, Major General Suraji A. Abdurrahman, said the army is the best profession on planet earth.
Gen. Abdurrahman told the recruits that the army opens doors for soldiers who are willing to see the whole world and advised them to abide by all regulations and obey rules that are lawful.
“Obey those above you and below you. Live by the oath you have taken today. This is a service to the nation and not to individuals,” Maj. Gen. Abdurrahman intimated.
For his part, the Minister of National Defense, Mr. Brownie J. Samukai, encouraged the recruits to remain steadfast while undergoing the training because there are series of challenges along the way.
Minister Samukai told the incoming gallant men and women that they will be taught the significance of disciplines and as such only those who meet the standard would be accepted as soldiers of the AFL.
“We will send you through the swamps, water, hills; there will be long range and short range. I assure you it will be tough but excuses will not be allowed. We will take care of you but you need to do your best,” Minister Samukai asserted.
Minister Samukai also informed the recruits that the army is not a place for job but service to the nation. He emphasized that if any recruit had made up his mind to join the AFL seeking for job, it would be prudent that he/she get out now instead of delaying more time.
The Defense Minister disclosed to the recruits that upon graduation, the Government of Liberia will pay US$170.00 per month to each recruit but while undergoing training, an amount of US$40.00 will be given each person to buy anything of his/her choice.
“Don’t try to socialize with those males or females. We are looking for disciplined men and women. Look after each other. We will continue to make sure that facilities are available for you and your families,” the Minister said.
Minister Samukai warned female recruits not to get pregnant while training and also warned the males not to impregnate any female recruits. The punishment for such offense he said, “We will drop both of you from the process.”
The Minister however lauded the Government of Liberia for the budgetary support allotted for the Defense Ministry and expressed the optimism that such initiative would continue in order to get a professional army.
He later showered praises on the United States Government and other foreign partners for their support to strengthen the AFL to compete with other armies around the sub-region.