President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has today passed out Armour Platoon Commanders and Crew at Armoured Warfare Training School in Karama, Mubende District. A total of 336 graduates completed a one year Armour basic crew course and 55 officers completed a 6 months Armour platoon commander course.
The President congratulated the graduands for successfully completing their course and assured them that their future was bright because they now serve a prestigious force- UPDF. He guided the officers that they should maintain discipline if they want to go far with their service to the country.
“If you know what to do, you will go very far. You need discipline to control whatever bad tendencies that may want to come in you such as alcohol, greed among others. If you avoid those, the future is very bright. Then you need a patriotic ideology. Don’t look at the army as a source of job, yes it’s a job but most importantly you should first consider it as a service of dedication to the country. You serve a country but in a process you earn a living. Remember at one time, some of us who were serving the country were not being paid but in your case, things are easier,” the President advised.
Gen. Museveni also underscored the importance of continuous learning about warfare in the army. He disclosed that the government has been able to build UPDF from nothing to something because they listen and study.
“When you see the chaos which is going on in Africa, you wonder whether what they call soldiers are trained. How can you have soldiers and generals who cannot plan for their country? It is because they don’t study, they just copy the little misinformation the Europeans give them,” he stressed.
President Museveni further revealed that many countries have failed to build strong armies because they don’t understand the role of warfare elements. He advised that for an army to stay on course, it should be dynamic and pay attention to the new packaging in the battlefield and also understand as well as package the warfare instruments correctly.
“What you do here is the ancient concept of the shield and the arrow. The shield is for protecting you and the arrow is for hitting the other person. As technology developed, the arrow was replaced by the bullet, with the bullet, the wooden and skin shield could no longer stop the bullet. The bullet was the new form of the arrow. That is why the idea of trenches came up, they became the shield. The first world war was static; It was a trench war but towards its end, the British had a concept of a mobile trench in the form of a tank. From that time the concept of tanks developed and by the time of the second world war, the tank had become three things now; a horse to move you forward, a trench to protect you and an arrow because it could fire guns and machine guns,” President Museveni said.
“That is why the tank ruled the battlefield in the second world war, in the Korean war, in the Israeli war of 1956 and Arab-Israeli war of 1967. The tank was also joined by aircraft so people who had both aircraft and tanks performed well but in the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, the tanks got a very big problem in the Sinai along the Suez Canal. The Egyptians started using ATGMs and they bled the Israeli army. The tank now had a challenge of Guided Anti- Tank Missiles but still there were solutions like long range artillery. Therefore by combining artillery with tanks, the Israelis were somehow able to recover,” he added.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja thanked President Museveni for his strategic vision and emphasis on the continuous training of the military which has helped UPDF to improve and sustain its efficiency, credibility, discipline and thus making it a dependable force in the country and the region at large.
“I want to inform you that strengthening the security of our nation is only possible with well trained and educated military personnel who are disciplined. With this we are able to meet the security demands generally. I therefore want to implore you to put to good use what you have learnt from this course as you go back to your respective formations,” Hon. Ssempijja said.
On his part, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen. Wilson Mbadi also commended Gen. Museveni for his efforts and commitment as Commander in Chief to build a professional, effective and efficient force for Uganda’s national defence.
Gen. Mbadi expounded that in modern warfare, armour and mounted manoeuvres is a vital and regular member of the combat support to the field commander because it brings within his reach decisive objectives due to its high mobility, superior firepower, protection and shock action characteristics thus enabling him the quickest means of achieving the ultimate battle objective which is the destruction of enemies.
“Through a combination of great mobility and overwhelming firepower, it upsets the opponent’s time and space factors by providing psychological shock effect that comes to the troops at the receiving end,” he noted.
The Commandant of the Armoured Warfare Training School- Karama, Brig. Gen Peter Candia said the school aims to become a centre of excellence for manoeuvres and land operations and to achieve this vision they train agile and adaptive commanders and crews capable of operating in all environments.
The event was also attended by; Senior government officials, Members of Parliament, UPDF leadership, Mubende district leaders among others.