Defense Honors Six for ‘Distinguished Service’

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The Ministry of National Defense on Thursday conferred six personalities with the honor of Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for their respective humanitarian efforts in the rebuilding of Liberia.

Those awarded the DSO at the 59th celebration of the Armed Forces Day included retired Colonel Chie Gaye, described as a “dedicated military officer” of the AFL, who served the country for 50 years from 1955 up to his retirement in 2005; former Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia, Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie, who President Sirleaf called an astute diplomat, a career public servant and Nigeria’s first female ambassador accredited to Liberia.

Her services to Liberia and her leadership engagement with the Ministry of National Defense reaffirmed efforts of peace building and promoted Liberia’s tangible reengagement in security sector reforms, said the citation.

Also honored was the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marjon Kamara, who previously served as Ambassador to Cuba and Liberia’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Her outstanding leadership at Liberia’s Mission in New York created the basis for international collaboration in support of the government’s effort in the security reform, national reconciliation, border control and other areas crucial to ensuring lasting peace said her citation.

Others on whom the DSO was conferred were Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel O. Nyante, described as a professional, disciplined and decorated military officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, a recipient of several United Nations medals, whose outstanding support to AFL is in keeping with the finest tradition and military services; Lieutenant Colonel Micheal Opoku, an experienced, professional and dedicated military officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, a recipient of the Ghana Golden Jubilee Medal; and Lieutenant/General William Ward (Retired), a professional decorated military personnel of United States Military and a recipient of over 27 military honors and awards.

On behalf of her colleagues, Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie expressed gratitude to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Ministry of National Defense for the awards.

“Madam President, we are happy for this recognition and will not abuse the faith that you and the good people of Liberia have reposed in us. We will continue to be champions for Liberia wherever fate takes us,” she assured Liberians.

The Nigerian diplomat shared the historical highlight of the AFL’s “peaceful journey” that started with the signing of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Accra, Ghana, which brought lasting peace to Liberia and from that day to date, the AFL, she said, has grown in leaps and bounds to the extent that the sky is its limit in the quest for the respectable status as “a force for good.”

“I should hasten to remind you through your amiable Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Daniel Ziankahn, that this celebration marks another step in your growth to adulthood and independence particularly in the light of the scheduled drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). We have faith in your capability to fill the gap that would be left by UNMIL and wish you success as you take on the challenge,” she told the AFL.

Ambassador Nnadozie cautioned Liberians to sustain and safeguard the hard earned peace the country enjoys today, and charged everyone to pursue national reconciliation in all their endeavors so that an atmosphere of peace and harmony, which would promote investments and economic recovery, can be built for all to enjoy.

“I urge you to continue with the post conflict reconciliation and reconstruction effort which the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been spearheading,” said Ambassador Nnadozie.

President Sirleaf, thanked the honorees for their services rendered to the country.

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