The United States ambassador, Thomas N. Hull, over the weekend led a graduation ceremony for 44 RSLAF military personnel and one member of the Sierra Leone Police force.
They recently completed training at the US Government-funded military logistics facility at Murray Town barracks. The soldiers’ graduation marked a continuation of a series of training programmes at the Freetown depot, funded by the US government. The solders were trained in military vehicle driving and generator maintenance.
The US government has committed $4 million to fund the recapitalization of equipment for the depot and $3 million yearly for Training and O&M (Operations and Maintenance) of the depot since 2002.
This eight-week training event is estimated to have cost more than $97,000. The depot has trained a total of 726 soldiers from six countries: Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad. Personnel who complete the training requirements return to their units as qualified generator mechanics, vehicle mechanics, and as heavy and light vehicle drivers.
The training is a combination of classroom and hands-on experience. This year, students drove 12,002 miles accident-free. Female students were treated equally and drove light and medium tactical trucks. Private Tucker stood out in her accomplishments and was recognized as the “most improved student”.
Ambassador Hull noted that, “the importance of this training in boosting the skills of the RSLAF and providing a future pool of candidates for ECOWAS to draw from considering they have already been trained on select equipment in the depot when and if the RSLAF become a part of the ECOWAS standby force”.