By HELEN TARAWA
FOR army Captain Eric Hawek, serving as an aide-de camp to the Governor-General in the past two years has been a privilege although challenging at times.
“This is the most prestigious office. Not everyone comes here especially for army and police officers. I’m happy to be here. The governor-general is a very generous man, and with the support of his official secretary has put in a lot of ideas in changing this place.”
Eric is married to Charmillar Chantikah of Central. They met in 2014 in Lae while he was undergoing officer cadet training at the Igam Barracks. They have a daughter Sandrickah, 4.
Eric, 32, is the eldest in a family of three. His father from Urugen village on Karkar Island in Madang served as a padre in the army. His mother is from Taemi village in Morobe.
Eric attended Grade One at the Lutheran Day Primary School in Madang in 1996, grades two and three at the Amba Demonstration School in 1997 and 1998, grades four and five at Igam Primary School in 1999 and 2000, grades six to eight at the Moem Barracks Primary School to 2003, and grades nine to 12 at Bishop Leo Secondary School in Wewak to 2007.
He enrolled at UPNG in 2008 and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in environmental science and geography.
While waiting for a job offer in that field, he decided to apply for military cadet training at the Igam Barracks.
“My name appeared in the newspaper to join the army. So I decided to give it a try. That’s how I am here.
“ I’m proud of being a soldier also because of our level of commitment and sacrifice. We sometimes go through some very difficult situations in training or operation with the limited resources we have but we do not complain. We have sworn an oath to serve our country.”
“It is probably God’s calling. I successfully completed training after 18 months and was posted to Taurama Barracks.”
In November, 2018, he became the ADC to the Governor-General. His term ended last November and he is back with the Infantry Battalion at Taurama Barracks.
“I’m walking out of here happy because I’ve learnt a lot. “I’ve been exposed to a lot of work outside of the military.”
He will be posted to Manus as the commanding officer of the communication base there.
“I will be responsible for all military communication and command men within this stream. It will a bit challenging but I’m looking forward to it.”
He loves to go out on military operations such as in 2016 when he took a platoon (30 men) to Weam in Western, 30km from Indonesia.
“It was a very isolated place and we had to patrol the border with limited resources.
“I took my men to visit two monuments at Sota and Torasi in Indonesia. Due to constraint in funding we had to stay in Weam for almost five months.”
He loves being a soldier because it instils discipline and orderliness in one’s character.
“I’m proud to be a soldier also because of our level of commitment and sacrifice. We sometimes go through some very difficult situations in training or operation with the limited resources we have but we do not complain. We have sworn an oath to serve our country.”