“Be Soldiers of the People,” President Weah Urges New Batch of AFL Graduates

Thursday, 22nd December 2022

Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

Monrovia, Liberia - The Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia and President of the Republic, H. E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, has paid tribute to graduates of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Recruits who have successfully completed the first phase of their training in various military disciplines.


The Ministry of Defense and the AFL hierarchy Thursday, December 22, 2022 graduated 176 army recruits (120 males and 56 females) of Class 09 following weeks of intensive military training at the Tubman Military Training Academy, Camp Todee Military Barrack.


President Weah was joined at the red-letter graduation ceremony by an array of government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, partners and family members of the graduates.


In his remarks at the occasion, President Weah described the graduation ceremony as a manifestation of his desire as Commander-in-Chief of the AFL to augment the current strength of the army.


“In my Armed Forces Day message that I gave in February of this year, as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, I ordered that 1,000 additional men and women be recruited into the Liberian Armed Forces to augment the strength of the Force,” the President said.


Apart from the first batch of 176 recruits, 24 Officer Candidates are still undergoing training, with the President pledging that the recruitment will continue subsequently in 2023 as the fiscal space would permit.


President Weah took pride in the fact this is the first recruits graduation program under his watch since he assumed office as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia in January 2018.


He noted that the last recruit-training exercise of the Armed Forces of Liberia was conducted in 2013, over eight years ago, when Class 08 Recruits graduated at the Tubman Military Training Academy, Camp Todee, Montserrado County.


Since that time, the Armed Forces of Liberia had been unable to hold subsequent recruits training due to budgetary constraints, he said.


The AFL Commander-in-Chief recounted how the Government has ensured regular increments in the budget of the Ministry of National Defense over the years.


He pledged the government’s commitment to ensuring that the AFL receives the additional budgetary allocations necessary to continue its recruitment and training process in 2023, to enable it further augment the strength of the Forces.


"Today, I join our citizens in acknowledging and appreciating the loyalty, dedication, and commitment of the gallant men and women of the graduating Class 09, and all those serving in the Liberian Armed Forces in our country. Our country salutes you, as heroes and heroines of our time," President stated.


The Liberian Leader divulged that the recruitment process represents a geographical balance of Liberia and was conducted at strategic and geographical locations including Montserrado, Bomi, Bong, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland Counties.


“This graduation ceremony marks the completion of over 12 weeks of intense Initial Entry Training conducted at the Tubman Military Academy, Camp Todee, Montserrado County,” the President said, adding that “the IET was intended to transform the recruited civilians into military personnel.”


The Liberian President extolled Graduates for participating in the training and encouraged them to remain focused and to persevere through their military career as they learn to lead by example.


"As professional career soldiers from diverse professional backgrounds—medical practitioners, engineers, administrators, social workers, etc.—your men in arms will depend on you for guidance and professional leadership,” he told them.


The President further thanked them for volunteering to serve their country.


According to him, the Nation is proud of the countless contributions of the Liberian Military to the peace and development of their country and the world at large.


“The Armed Forces of Liberia can boast of tremendous successes emanating from the support of our Government and the level of training assistance provided by our foreign partners,” he said, using the moment to recount the realization of the commitment he made five years ago to construct a hospital for our Military, which would cater to the health needs of our Men and Women in Arms and their families.


Although not many believed it was possible, he announced that the 14th Military Hospital in Duazohn, Margibi County has been dedicated and opened for business.


"Again, on February 11, 2022, I also promised to construct 25 extra housing units and the renovation of the current military infrastructure for our Men and Women in arms," President Weah declared.


He added that the renovations intended to enhance the welfare of troops and family members have been completed and the construction of the 25 housing units are ongoing simultaneously.


President Weah challenged Liberian soldiers to present themselves as “Soldiers of the People” as they perform their duties.


He said the Government is committed to providing, as much as it’s possible within our budgetary constraints, all of the necessary support to ensure that the Armed Forces of Liberia is, and remains, a "Force for Good".


President Weah thanked Liberia’s development partners including the United States Government, the Peoples' Republic of China, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Ghana, and the Arab Republic of Egypt and other partners for their continuous support to the Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia.


The President also expressed personal appreciation to the Defense Minister, Major General Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr. (Rtd.); the Chief of Staff of the AFL, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III; the AFL High Command, and the authorities of the Ministry of National Defense, for ably steering the affairs of the Armed Forces of Liberia.


To our graduating Class 09 of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Liberian Leader said: “We salute and thank you for your voluntary service to our nation. You have demonstrated a keen sense of patriotism and regimentation as servicemen bearing the flag that binds us together as a country.”