The Special Forces Command(SFC) has passed out a group of 150 officers who successfully completed the basic airborne course.
The pass out ceremony held at the UPDAF base in Nakasongola on Thursday afternoon saw the elite force pass out the first group of paratroopers since its inception and the UPDF at large.
Speaking at the function, the Commander of the Special Forces Command Brig Gen Felix Busizoori advised the group to embrace further training if they are to attain the highest and required level of professionalism like their colleagues from Israel and elsewhere.
“It is the first time in our history that we are witnessing the passing out of personnel in the field of airborne; This was possible because of endurance, patience, courage and love for training which I saw in you today,” Brig Busizoori said in reference to the training they underwent since 2018.
Brig Felix Busizoori chats with L/CPL Ninsiima Agatha, the first lady jumper in UPDF.
The group’s training was however interrupted by the Covid pandemic.
The SFC commander urged the graduands to continue training in quest for proficiency, adding that professionalism is only got through training and that as leaders of the Special Forces Command, they will continue to engage partners to always get new courses for the troops.
He appealed for team work amongst the combatants saying it reduces the chance of making mistakes, the sole reason no trainee sustained life threatening injuries during the course of training.
Brig Busizoori asked them to maintain equipment and school facilities that are going to be handed over to them by the expatriates when that time comes.
The SFC paratroopers during drills.
He also called for discipline, keeping ideologically upright, avoiding subversive groups and acts as well as avoiding sicknesses such as HIV/AIDS, saying the above would affect one’s career progression if not checked.
Mr. Gill who represented the Chief Executive Officer of Yamasec group Barak Orland said they had reached a critical phase of building the capacity of Uganda’s airborne component and that the generation of paratroopers should now continue, having laid a strong foundation through training and certification of Ugandan instructors.
He called on the leadership of the Special Forces Command never to stop training paratroopers because at the end of the day, UPDF would be assured and capable of winning wars.
Each of the members was awarded awarded an airborne wing.
He also added that at an appropriate time, they will handover the airborne fully fledged training facility to the UPDF.
The Director of Training Special Forces Command Col John Bosco Asinguza, thanked the paratroopers for a successful completion of the course but also applauded the leadership of SFC for always supporting training despite interruptions such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Commandant of the Amilca Cabral Airborne School Lt Col Lokut said airborne training entails very special skills; a combination of imagination as well use of air as a medium of operation.
He said it is a skill which is perishable and therefore must be updated from time to time right from the lowest to the last platform if it’s to be sustained.
Some of the paratroopers.
He said as a school they will continue to impart skills to the different intakes that will follow.
Maj Musoba who for a long period of time oversaw the progress of the course both as a commandant and as the senior most student said, the course entailed training jump masters- training instructors who have the capability or skills to train an air borne course on their own, riggers- training specialists in preparing parachutes for jumps, and finally preparing airborne ground training facilities like Gilac Zone, Omega, mock aircraft and jump tower.
The 150 graduands were awarded airborne wings whereas five jump masters were certified as professional airborne trainers.
The SFC commander also promoted privates Ninsiima Agatha and Happy Joseph to the new ranks of Lance Corporal.
Ninsiima was promoted for being the first lady jumper in the UPDF whereas Happy was promoted for being the best rigger(specialist in preparing parachutes for jumps).
The function was also attended by Col Mweteise Asaph, Col Grant Mugabi, Col Mugisa of MOI Bde, Col Herbert Nabimanya, Col Gilbert Owamegyezi, Yamasec team, commanding officers, commandants, senior and junior officers in the Special Forces Command.
World over, airborne forces carried by aircraft and airdropped into battle zones, typically by parachute drop or air assault and this is done by a group of specially trained parachute-qualified and support personnel serving in the airborne units known as paratroopers.
Airborne forces are mainly advantageous due to their ability to be deployed into combat zones without land passage, as long as the airspace is accessible.
Whereas each country needs paratroopers as part of its army, this is limited by the funds to train them since it is expensive.
The latest “acquisition” of paratroopers for the UPDF will greatly enhance their operations, especially those that would need working behind the enemy line but to also carry out surprise attacks.