Michigan Nat’l Guard Delegation Pledges Support to AFL

Second from left: Deputy Defense Minister Dickson; Brigadier General Kathrine White of the Michigan National Guard; Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, along with other officers.

A high-level delegation from Michigan National Guard in the United States of America has pledged its continued support to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) including capacity-building or training of soldiers and support in other areas.

The current Armed Forces of Liberia, unlike its pre-war version that is on record for having committed many human rights abuses before and during the Liberian civil war, is in the process of professional capacity building and needs more support in this direction and logistically.

Making the commitment on February 12 during a media engagement at the Barclay Training Center, Brigadier General Kathrine White acknowledged the encouraging growth of the AFL and the gains made over the years, stressing that she was impressed by the men and women in arms, especially their performances at this year AFL Day celebration.

She emphasized that the Michigan National Guard has been working with the AFL for nearly 11 years, which started with a simple exchange of ideas and experiences, and Michigan National Guard has continued to provide advice to the AFL on military procedure and also shared the American protocols with the Liberian soldiers ranging from private to general.

General White said the engagement or partnership focuses on tracking military supplies, access and enforcing professionalism.  “We advise the AFL on military issues and have come a long way in building strong relationship that will only continue to grow.”

“As partners, we have built and conducted 11 separate training engagements over the years, which include medical readiness, logistics, engineering projects and key leadership engagements. Again, in 2015, Michigan National Guard and AFL soldiers built multi-facilities at the Edward B. Kesselly barracks, which are now being used,” General White said.

General White expressed her delight for hearing about the growth and progress of the AFL, and the continual exhibition of professionalism. General White said the Michigan National Guard has also learned a lot from the AFL soldiers over the years. She said the AFL soldiers have reminded the Michigan National Guard that as teachers, they can still learn from the AFL.

Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, said: “This is a wonderful time for the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense as the partnership continues to grow and empower us.”

General Johnson recalled that the Armed Forces of Liberia has been in partnership with the Michigan National Guard since 2009, and it shows the level of the support the country continues to get from them.

“The U.S. has supported this new Armed Forces of Liberia. It’s because of your taxpayers’ money that the AFL has reached this far, or it’s what it is as well as through the leadership of ECOWAS and other local and international partners,” Mr. Johnson said.

Deputy Defense Minister for Administration, Olandrus Dickson, said the AFL continues to be a beneficiary of assistance from the Michigan National Guard and will continue to value the partnership and support.

“Today, we have a building at the Edward B. Kesselly’s barrack built by the Michigan National Guard. This shows that we have an enduring relationship with the people of the United States and with the Michigan National Guard in this case,” Deputy Minister Dickson said.

According to him, the AFL wouldn’t have been where it is now without the support of the United States government and the US Africa Command as the restructuring of the armed forces was done by the United States government.

He said  the AFL has more projects on hand and called on Brigadier General Kathrine White and her team to help.

Alvin Worzi is a Liberian journalist with over seven years of professional experience. For the past few years, he has been engaged in covering land issues, security, education, gender related issues, politics, and agriculture. Mr. Worzi is currently the Assistant Secretary General of the Executive Mansion Press Corps (conglomeration of reporters assigned at the Executive Mansion). Mr. Worzi is a member of the Press Union of Liberia.


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