Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has passed out students who successfully completed the Engineer Officer Basic Course (EOBC) Intake 03/22 and Engineer Senior Non-Commissioned Officer’s (Engr SNCOs) Course Intake 01/22 at Kalama School of Combat Engineering.
While officiating at the closure of the joint pass-out ceremony and commissioning of new buildings, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbadi, congratulated graduands and commended them for being resilient throughout the six months of training.
Gen Mbadi said that combat engineers contribute to the survival of troops in the field because they ensure mobility and counter-mobility.
“In the field, we want safe lines of communication to enable the Commander to support troops. Engineers can delay an enemy or align him in the killing area or give us time to prepare,” the CDF elaborated.
He added that combat engineers also provide force protection and sustainability.
Gen Mbadi highlighted the importance of training and continuous retraining, saying it builds a modern, effective, efficient and professional force.
”Once a soldier is trained, then he does things better and finally gets rewarded. This can be through ranks which means additional responsibility and privileges,” he said.
The CDF explained that training builds the capacity to acquire skills and knowledge required to enrich practicals, standardization and logistical support.
He noted that the army leadership is determined to build an effective logistics system, improve troops’ welfare through schemes (like salary enhancement and segmentation), improve accommodation, provide efficient medical and education systems, train soldiers ideologically and embrace civil-military cooperation, among others.
Gen Mbadi urged soldiers to preserve cautious discipline and professionalism for the continuity of peace and security. “I implore you to do the right things since it’s the man behind the machine and not the machine for successful operations,” he cautioned.
To the graduands, the CDF urged them to practice what they have learned, saying this era demands cautious training, modern equipment and tactics because of the asymmetrical nature of threats.
“The knowledge you have gained will help you play your role in the wider UPDF as required for peace and security both within Uganda and beyond,” he added.
He further mentioned that UPDF is required to contribute to regional and international peace and security apart from its mandate as enshrined in the Constitution. “We must prepare our forces to operate with other forces elsewhere, which explains our involvement in Somalia and DRC,” he noted.
Speaking at the same ceremony, the Commander of the UPDF Engineers Brigade, Brig Gen Besigye Bekunda, commended the army leadership for recognizing the need to construct new infrastructure for the forces and other Ministries Departments, and Agencies using soldiers, saying this builds their capacity and saves revenue.
He said the UPDF Engineers Brigade is flying high since it’s entrusted with many different construction projects in the country, most especially in the field of education and health.
The Commandant of the School of Combat Engineering Col WN Kabeera congratulated graduands and commended the army leadership for the enormous support towards the success of the courses.
He urged graduands to reflect on the realities of today and tomorrow’s warfare, and internalize lessons learnt, especially on financial literacy, discipline and political education to become better soldiers and citizens.
“Life rewards hard work and I urge you to have a positive mindset and avoid reckless living to achieve more in the future,” he warned.
Col Kabeera also encouraged graduands to reflect on the school’s vision which is to “provide solutions to commander’s decision.”
EOBC students covered the following topics: Engineering tactics, project management, mine warfare, demolition, booby traps, fieldwork and military topography, among others.
While the Engineer SNCOs course involved skills in arms, watermanship, rafts, sanitation, rigging, bridging and organization, among others.
The ceremony was attended by UPDF Senior and Junior Officers, and Militants.