Francisco Choc of Belize has topped the Guyana Defence Force (GDF)’s Standard Officers Course Number 49. Choc is one of two Belizeans who graduated from the course yesterday along with nine Guyanese and one officer from Antigua and Barbuda.
Choc received the awards for Best Student, Military Knowledge and Best Fitness. The award for Best Shot went to Gerald Gomes; Best Drill to Travis Marcellino, and Runner up Student to the lone female cadet, Brandi Johnson.
The other students who graduated were Austin Buntin of Antigua and Barbuda, Caleb Rodriguez of Belize, Joshua Walcott, Brian Canterbury, John Cho-Yee, Hanisi Chandler, Berachah Garrett and Terrence De Peana all of Guyana.
On March 3, 2017 the new officers were promoted to Ensigns and it was only yesterday that they were promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant at a ceremony held at State House where President David Granger presented the graduands with their instruments.
Following that ceremony the new officers completed their Commissioning Parade at the Drill Square, Base Camp Ayanganna.
At that event, President Granger told the new Second Lieutenants that the Parade marks the transition from trainee to leader and from cadetship to officer ship.
He said, “It is a personal achievement of which we congratulate these young men and women. This commissioning parade takes place in the presence of members of the national assembly, of military officers, of state officials, of diplomats, members of the public and their own relatives. This parade is a public statement by the newly commissioned officers themselves of their personal commitment to the military profession and the defence of the nation”.
According to Granger, who is a Retired Brigadier of the GDF, the Standard Officers Course is much more than smart apparel and sharp drill. He said that the course is about training generations of cadets to live among Guyanese and to operate in the country’s complex environment, by day or by night.
The Head of State added that cadets must be trained in skill at arms, drill and tactics. He said that they must be taught the techniques of management, leadership and the technologies of modern equipment. Granger urged that cadets should also learn the languages of neighbouring states. He admitted that the course is a rigorous one, but maintained that it must routinely and regularly train new cadets to continue the task of commanding units and replacing those who would have retired from the defence force.
The course had begun on Monday April 11, 2016 with a total of 36 cadets; three from the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force and three from the Belize Defence Force.
For the duration of the course, a total of 24 students withdrew from the course or would have failed to achieve the minimum standards. The first stage of the Officer Cadet training was conducted at Base Camp Stephenson.
Cadets were trained in Open Country Warfare at the Section and Platoon Commander levels, at the Colonel John Clarke Military School at Tacama.
The cadets were also trained in jungle and small boat operation, at the Colonel Robert Mitchell Jungle and Amphibious Training School at Makouria.
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