On Sunday, 27 February 2022, the Retired Commissioned Officers’ Association (RCOA) and the Retired Armed Forces Officers’ Wives Association (RAFOWA) held their 15th annual Thanksgiving Service at the RCOA Mess, located on the Independence Avenue next to the Ghana Immigration Service Headquarters.
The Service is an annual event which brings together retired commissioned officers and their spouses to thank God for His mercies the previous year. Members who passed on to eternity are also remembered.
It was the first service since February 2020 following the arrival of Covid-19 in Ghana, and the ban on gatherings in the President’s first address on 13 March 2020, humorously called “Fellow-Ghanaians 1.”
Before continuing with the Thanksgiving Service, a recent observation by a Media Consultant comes to mind. I had told him about a question a classmate asked after reading my mid-February 2022 article “Leadership - Gen Colin Powell!”
The comment/question was, “Good leadership lesson, Dan! But, who is a 4-Star General in the Army?”
Clutching at this, my Media friend said;
“General, your classmate is perfectly right asking. Because of my profession and more importantly my association with some of you in the military, especially those in GAW (Ghana Association of Writers,) I probably know more about the military than most Ghanaians. But, I still do not know enough! I think the military owes us civilians a responsibility of educating us about the institution so we can understand you, instead of fearing you!”
I agreed with him and re-stated what I told my classmate.
A colonial legacy, the Ghana Armed Forces comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, is modelled on British lines. It is made up of Commissioned Officers who hold a presidential Commission, and Other Ranks/Men. While Officers may approximate Management in civilian organisations, Other Ranks approximate Union.
The rank structure of the officer Corps ranges from Second-Lieutenant or equivalent in the Navy and Air Force on commission, to General and equivalent. For the Other-Ranks, ranks range from a Private to Warrant Officer Class One (WO1).
The ranks are:
Army Navy Air Force
1 Second-Lieutenant Midshipman Pilot Officer
2 Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Flying Officer
3. Captain Lieutenant Flight Lieutenant
4. Major Lieutenant Commander Squadron Leader
5. Lieutenant-Colonel Commander Wing Commander
6. Colonel Captain Group Captain
7. Brigadier-General Commodore Air Commodore
8. Major-General Rear Admiral Air-Vice-Marshal
9. Lieutenant-General Vice Admiral Air Marshal
10. General Admiral Marshal
11. Field Marshal – (Five-Star) Has been abolished.
Second-Lieutenant to Captain are “Junior Officers.” Major, Lieutenant-Colonel and Colonel are called “Senior Officers.” Brigadier-General and above are called “Generals.”
6. Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2)
7. Warrant Officer Class One (WO1)
In the Ghana Police, everybody from the Constable to the IGP is a “Peace Officer,” as we inherited from the British. The term “officer” is therefore applicable to all police personnel.
However, in the Military, “officer” refers only to Commissioned Officers. Other Ranks are called “soldiers!” It is therefore wrong to call everyone in the Army, Navy or Air Force a “military officer!”
The Service had the theme “God is our hope and strength.”
The Christian homily was delivered by Rev Lt Col Dr BDK Agbeko (Rtd,) Moderator of the EP Church of Ghana. The Moslem homily was delivered by Sheik Lt Col (Ambassador) US Ahmed (Rtd).
Sadly, since the 14th anniversary Thanksgiving Service in February 2020, about 130 officers and spouses have passed on to higher glory. A minute’s silence was observed in their honour.
The Guest-of-Honour was the Chief-of-the-Defence-Staff Vice-Admiral Seth Amoamah, with Service Chiefs as Special Guests.
Mr John Watson Otumfour, an engineer and actuary and founder of Mayfair Real Estate Company was also a Special Guest. Son of Lt Col Ahuma-Otumfour (Rtd), Mr John Watson Otumfour has undertaken building projects at Base Workshop, Services Primary School, Burma Camp and a Transit Hotel at the Arakan Officers Mess etc.
He stated that, it is his way of giving back to the system which nurtured him into who he is today.
The Garrison-Methodist-Presbyterian-Church Choir and the Armed Forces Central Band were in attendance.
The offertory/appeal-for-funds was donated to the 37 Military Hospital to support the rehabilitation of some Officers’ Waiting Rooms.
While the Thanksgiving-Service is annual, the Association meets monthly.
The RCOA is a veritable storehouse of diverse knowledge, expertise and experience which can easily be tapped for national development, as countries like the United Kingdom and USA do. It could also be a think-tank for national policy development.
Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College
Source: Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd), Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya
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