By PISAI GUMAR
CHRISTMAS had come to 27 soldiers from the engineer battalion at Igam Barracks outside Lae.
They were all recognised for outstanding dedication and commitment in the frontline as private soldiers and promoted to the next rank of lance corporal.
One of them Sgt Emmanuel Sewididi was promoted to the rank of warrant officer.
Igam Barracks commanding officer Lt-Col Mark Keru said that as frontline soldiers, the men in green had contributed immensely in their various specific fields under the engineer battalion.
Alhough under-strength and under-resourced, their performances were outstanding and that the men deserved recognition, Lt-Col Keru said.
“We have to remain focused, be motivated and committed to implement state obligation for the benefit of the country and the people of Papua New Guinea.”
He said that despite the tough times ahead, coupled with unseen challenges, various units in the battalion had to be prepared to face, uncover situations and implement the changes, he said.
Lt-Col Keru said that from next year on soldiers would be deployed for six months rather than the normal three months to construct the road link between Simbu and Madang.
PNGDF chief of operations Col Max S. Aleale said that its performance during RAMSI operations had given the military international exposure to countries such as New Zealand, Australia and USA.
“Our soldiers had improved and become more professional in their various fields.
“It has proven how best PNGDF is ready and keen to perform at international missions, the United States, Australia and New Zealand have shown interest in using force,” Col Aleale said.
However, he said that processes at the PNGDF headquarters at Murray Barracks to sort out the documents were cumbersome and that it may be some time before PNGDF could be utilised for overseas deployment.
The soldiers were awarded during soldiers Christmas luncheon – a tradition where chief officers and sergeants serve the meal to junior officers and privates.