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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT GEORGE M. WEAH AT CLASS 09 RECRUITS GRADUATION AT BARCLAY TRAINING CENTER

Date:

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

In my Armed Forces Day message that I gave in February of this year, as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, I ordered that One Thousand (1,000) additional soldiers be recruited into the Liberian Armed Forces to augment the strength of the Force.

Today, we see the manifestation of the recruitment process as we graduate the first batch of 176 recruits, consisting of 56 females and 120 males, while 24 Officers Candidates are still undergoing training.  The recruitment will continue subsequently in 2023 as our fiscal space will permit.

It is therefore with great pleasure that I have joined you here today for the graduation program of the Class 09th Recruits, who are the first batch of new soldiers to emerge from the recruitment drive.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Since my inauguration as president of the Republic of Liberia and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia in January 2018, this is the first recruit’s graduation program being held under my Government.

However, I believe that it is worthy to note that the last recruit training exercise of the Armed Forces of Liberia was conducted in 2013, over eight (8) years ago, when Class 08th Recruits graduated at the Tubman Military Training Academy, Camp Todee, Montserrado County. Since that time, the Armed Forces of Liberia has been unable to hold subsequent recruits training, due to budgetary constraints.

However, my Government has ensured regular increments in the budget of the Ministry of National Defense over the years.  We will continue to see that the Armed Forces of Liberia receives the additional budgetary allocations necessary to continue its recruitment and training process in 2023, in order to augment the strength of the Forces.

Today, I join our citizens in acknowledgment and appreciation of the loyalty, dedication, and commitment of the gallant men and women of the graduating Class 09, and all those serving in the Liberian Armed Forces in our country. Our country salutes you, as heroes and heroines of our time.

It is important to note that the recruitment process represents a geographical balance of Liberia and was conducted at four strategic and geographical locations (Montserrado, Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland Counties).

This graduation ceremony marks the completion of over 12 weeks of intense Initial Entry Training conducted at the Tubman Military Academy, Camp Todee, Montserrado County. The IET was intended to transform the recruited civilians into military personnel.

Let me also extend my gratitude to the 24 Officer Candidates present here with us today, who are still undergoing training at the Officer Candidate School at Tubman Military Academy in CampTodee. I encourage you to remain focused and persevere through your military career as you learn to lead by example.

As professional career soldiers from diverse professional backgrounds (medical practitioners, engineers, administrators, social workers, etc), your men in arms will depend on you for guidance and professional leadership. Thank you for volunteering to serve your country. I anticipate a successful graduation as you endure through your second phase of Officer Candidates Training.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Our Nation stands proud of the countless contributions of the Liberian Military to the peace and development of our country and the world at large. The Armed Forces of Liberia can boast of tremendous successes emanating from the support of our Government and the level of training assistance provided by our foreign partners.

Approximately five years ago, during my first Armed Forces Day speech, I promised that I would construct a hospital for our Military, which would cater to the health needs of our Men and Women in Arms and their families. Many thought that the project was too ambitious and farfetched to ever be completed. Today, the 14th Military Hospital in Duazohn, Margibi County has been dedicated and opened for business.

Again, on February 11, 2022, I also promised the construction of 25 extra housing units and the renovation of the current military infrastructure for our Men and Women in arms. As we speak, the renovations have been completed and the construction of the 25 housing units is ongoing simultaneously. These are intended to enhance the welfare of our troops and their family members.

DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Our soldiers must be seen as “Soldiers of the People” as they perform their duties. Let me assure you that my Government is committed to providing, as much as is possible within our budgetary constraints, all of the necessary support to ensure that the Armed Forces of Liberia is, and remains, a “Force for Good”.

Once again let me express my delight that our soldiers continue to exemplify the attributes of true servicemen.

I am particularly proud of the AFL’s contribution to the UN Missions in Mali, South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I also wish to thank our Partners – the United States Government, the Peoples’ Republic of China, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Ghana, and the Arab Republic of Egypt and other partners for their continuous support to the Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia.

I would also like to express my personal thanks and appreciation to the Defense Minister, Major General Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr. (Rtd.); the Chief of Staff of the AFL, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III.; the AFL High Command, and the authorities of the Ministry of National Defense, for ably steering the affairs of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

To the families of our Men and Women in Arms, we want to thank you for your support to our servicemen. You continue to demonstrate your love for our country by granting them this important support while in service to our nation.

TO THE GRADUATING CLASS #09:

To our graduating Class 09 of the Armed Forces of Liberia, we salute and thank you for your voluntary service to our nation. You have demonstrated a keen sense of patriotism and regimentation as servicemen bearing the flag that binds us together as a country. Despite the numerous challenges you face, you have stayed the course and have remained committed to endeavoring through the first phase of training. We inspire you to withstand the next phase of your Advance Individual Training.  We are proud of you. May God bless you and guard you.

I thank you.

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