THE First Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (1RPIR), held a parade on Saturday to mark the changing of the guard at Taurama Barracks.
They farewelled their outgoing Commanding Officer (CO), Lt Col Siale Francis Diro and welcomed incoming CO, Major Emmanuel Todick.
Representatives of Australian defence force, New Zealand defence attaché, Indonesian defence attaché, members of PNGDF, families and friends of Taurama gathered around the battalion parade ground to witness the occasion.
Lt Col Diro, who took command on Feb 15, 2007, was credited with improving the operational capabilities of his men.
Addressing the battalion for the last time, Lt Col Diro described the unit as ready and capable of deploying at short notice to accomplish their tasks in a timely and effective manner.
Some of the unit’s accomplishments included the successful outcome of the 2007 general elections in the Southern Highlands province, quick response to assist retrieve bodies of the Kokoda air crash
in August and successfully completing exercise Olgeta Warrior.
Handing over the command to the new CO, Lt Col Diro said: “There is more to do and I implore you to focus on improving these areas and take the unit to greater heights.”
The outgoing CO will take up his new post as director of land operations at the PNGDF headquarters at Murray barracks.
Major Todick, who was promoted to Lt Col to take up his new post, said he was thankful for being entrusted the command to lead one of the finest units in the PNGDF.
Commander of PNGDF, Commodore Peter Ilau said he was confident of the new CO and believed that he would take the unit to a new level.
Before handing over the command of the battalion, Lt Col Diro presented the CO’s commendation to Steven Kila, area finance officer of 1RPIR and promotions to 18 personnel.