I am honoured to be here with you this morning, and to be part of this ceremony, which is of extreme importance to the military, especially to one of the vital arms of the Ghana Armed Forces – the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment.
This is my first “Presentation of Colours” ceremony as Commander-in-Chief, and I am reliably informed that this is the very first time in the history of the Ghana Armed Forces that this ceremony is being held for the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. So you can see, it is an auspicious day for me. It means that the Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment is now joined to me in a special way, for my future recollections of this day will always feature you.
The ceremony for the Presentation of Colours, in tune with longstanding military traditions across the world, has been the sole preserve for units in the infantry. However, in line with the decision taken to present Colours to deserving combat support units of the Ghana Armed Forces, we are here today to witness history in the making, as we honour the Armoured Recce Regiment with its own Colours. The only other combat support units who have ever been presented with their own colours are the 48 Engineer Regiment and the 66 Artillery Regiment.
According to the military, the Colours of a regiment represent its honour and devotion to duty. They represent the fighting spirit of military units, and are symbols of bravery and unity. As far back as some 5,000 years ago, the practice of carrying Colours, both to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of a commander, originated in ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages in Europe, and in the chaos that characterised battles in those times, soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was, and the Colours of their respective regiments served that purpose.
As we present you, the Armoured Recce Regiment, with your own Colours, I urge you to revere it and be guided always by its undying principles of perseverance, unity and bravery in the protection of lives and property, and the defence of the territorial sovereignty of our beloved Ghana.
The personnel of the Armoured Recce Regiment are to be commended for their commitment to duty, and their overall contribution to the Ghana Armed Forces, since its establishment in 1963. For well over 54 years, this Regiment has provided armoured support to infantry units deployed on various national and international peace support operations. Indeed, I am told that during the pre-independence era, elements of the recce unit supported the Gold Coast Regiment in battles here in Africa, and in Burma, in Asia. In those campaigns, the Gold Coast Regiment earned honours in the Battle of Kamina, in the First World War, and the Battles of Myohaung and El-Wak, in the Second World War.
The active combat service, thus, entitles the recce unit to the honours won by the Gold Coast Regiment in those battles. It is for this reason that these honours are duly inscribed on the Regimental Colours that have been presented to the Armoured Recce Regiment this morning. Other honours earned in recent times, which have also been inscribed on the colours, are those of international peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
To the commanding officer, officers, men, women, and civilian employees of the Recce Regiment, I am confident that you will honour and defend these Colours at all times. The possession of the revered symbols must inspire you to greater service in defence of Mother Ghana.
The Recce Regiment, in the course of the year, is set for deployment as the main unit constituting Ghana’s Battalion in the UNIFIL Mission in Lebanon. It is heart-warming to note that our troops are held in high esteem by the world, and Ghanaian peacekeeping soldiers on international peacekeeping missions continue to make our nation proud. I have been informed that on 3rd May, 2017, GHANBATT 5, Ghana’s contingent of troops who are part of the UN’s Mission in South Sudan, put up an impressive display of bravery and tact, as they repelled an armed attack on the temporary camp for internally displaced persons at Leer, in South Sudan. I am confident that these acts of bravery and skill will spur on the Armoured Recce Regiment towards achieving even greater feats during its one-year duty tour in South Lebanon.
Officers, men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces, the traditional challenges to security, such as chieftaincy conflicts, land disputes, religious intolerance, ethnic conflicts and political rivalry, are being compounded by contemporary threats like drug and human trafficking, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, armed robberies, cyber-crime and activities of nomadic herdsmen.
Today, the challenges to Ghana’s national security are numerous, complex and sometimes quite unpredictable. Nonetheless, and in the face of all these threats, you continue to discharge your duties equably and professionally. All of us owe a great debt of gratitude to you, the men and women of the Armed Forces, for being prepared to put your lives on the line to keep our nation safe, safeguard our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity. As the saying goes, you are the salt of the earth.
As government intensifies its efforts to curb the illegal mining phenomenon, otherwise referred to as ‘galamsey’, that is polluting our waters, destroying our farmlands and forests, and threatening the very survival of this country, Ghanaians would continue to rely on the efforts of our security services, with the Armed Forces in the forefront, to help deal with the problem. I am confident that, as always, the Armed Forces will rise to the occasion.
In terms of military preparedness, government will actively support contemporary training methods that will not only keep you abreast with international military trends, but will also ensure that you remain the beacon of Armed Forces across the continent.
We are committed to providing you with modern military equipment, which would complement the training you would receive. Government is also committed to enriching the human resource base of the Armed Forces by supporting initiatives that will provide further education for soldiers, sailors and airmen to enhance further their skills at protecting our territorial integrity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish, in conclusion, to commend the officers and men of the Armoured Recce Regiment, and the Armed Forces Central Band, for the splendid performance they have put up this morning. It is truly an honour and privilege to be in the midst of the gallant men and women of our nation’s Armed Forces. I have, very much enjoyed this morning’s ceremony, and I eagerly look forward to the next.
Thank you and may God bless us all and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.