The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) has changed its warlike combat uniforms to the peace fatigue-bottle green.
Explaining to Awoko yesterday at his office at Defence headquarters, military spokesman and deputy chief of defence staff Brigadier Alfred Nelson Williams explained the reasons for the change of uniforms.
He said, “before the war the RSLAF had different fatigues as there was the combat which was used for field exercises and when some were on training at Daru or Benguema. Also we had different fatigues for ceremonial purposes, which is red and black used for troops on parades and the navy, and air force also use it. There is also the second ceremonial uniform which is grey-long khaki colour used during poppy day parade or graduation ceremony both nationally and internationally for officers and other ranks.”
Explaining further, he said the RSLAF also had the brown short sleeve which was worn on normal working days and reserved mainly for staff officers at military headquarters and Defence headquarters.
He said the soldiers had the green and brown, the navy, air force use it as normal working uniform.
Brigadier Nelson Williams explained that the military did not wear combat as their normal dress code.
He explained that when the war started in 1991 and when military officers were sent to ECOMOG in Liberia they used the combat uniforms to blend with the terrain as there were no need to wear ceremonial uniforms.
“When the war ended, we had a blotted force of 18,500 and there were other competing demands like training, so there were no opportunities to buy military fatigues at one go. Now we have reduced the force to 10,500 which will be further reduced to 8,500 which will enable us to cater for our force,” he said.
The military spokesman said the change of fatigue was good because “If people arrive from abroad and see our soldiers in combat they will have the perspective that we are in a combat mood and for soldiers to have the peaceful atmosphere and the public to have confidence that the country is stable, so we have reverted to our normal dress code”
The soldiers at the Western Area will wear the new military uniform whilst those at the brigades, battalions and operational areas will wear the combat uniforms. “When soldiers from the Western Area travel to the provinces with passes they will use the combat and vice-versa,” he concluded.