Saturday, January 19, 2008

Armed Forces of Liberia IET Class 08-01 Graduation

January 11th marked the first significant event of 2008 for the Armed Forces of Liberia. On that day 485 additional soldiers were added to the Liberian military’s end strength when they graduated from their initial entry training (IET, or “basic training”) at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia. This class of 468 men and 17 women hail from 12 of Liberia’s 15 counties and with an average age of 29 bring a wealth of life experience to their new careers as soldiers.

These 485 soldiers completed eight weeks of intensive training at Camp Ware, near Careysburg that transformed them from civilians into soldiers. This class was the third in the Security Sector Reform program. The graduation raised the effective number of soldiers in the AFL from 639 to 1,124 --- in just one day. The Monday after graduation the troops started their infantry advanced individual training, also conducted at Camp Ware. After they complete that training in early February the graduates will transfer to EBK Military Barracks where they join the regular army.

This graduation was especially enjoyable for me as I got the opportunity to hand out awards to the honor graduates and conduct the pass in review with the guest speaker Counselor Augustine Toe because Major General Abdurrahman was unavailable for the ceremony.

[Photo: Lieutenant Colonel Wyatt (Office of Defense Cooperation Chief) speaking with Ambassador Booth (left) and Minister Samukai (r) after the graduation ceremony]

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