As the nation commemorated the Armed Forces Day on 11th February 2014, retire AFL personnel residing in Ganta, Nimba County share their experiences during their days in the army.
Retire Captain Diysses M. Dunbar told this paper in an interview on Tuesday, 11th February that during their time in the army, the military was well respected and taken care of during the celebration of the Armed Forces Day.
The 62-year-old retired officer, explained of joining the army in 1976 and rose to the rank of Captain before being downsized or retired in 2005.
“The Armed Forces Day used to be a great day for the army, because there was allotment for celebration in every barrack across Liberia,” he said.
Capt. Foday H. Freeman, another retired soldier also told the Observer, “We were well respected by everyone, including those in authority, no one could just get on the army except there be tangible reason.”
“Our supplies including uniforms were all intact. We were supplied with four sets of uniforms and each of these uniforms was designed for certain occasions,” he added.
“Distribution of uniform and other items were regular, no delay, no bribing,” he recounted.
“We were taught how to live with civilian, to respect our oldest and also taught to be submissive,” he stressed.
Retire Captain Freeman, who currently in his mid 60s, woke up early Tuesday Morning with tears in remembrance of the days when he was served in the army. He stated that February 11 was a day when the celebration was so admirable.
“When I woke up this morning, I share tears in sorrow of old age and remembering the days we were still in the army when this great day was celebrated,” he said.
Not forgetting about the past enjoyment while serving as an army, his wife prepared him a GB with one chicken early Tuesday morning to commemorate the day.
“The salary was less but there was a condition where we can easily take Liberia Pay After (LPA) in materials such as building materials and anything and the money being deducted from you gradually,” said retired Sgt. Othello Weamie.
However, the retirees meanwhile expressed happiness over the taking over of the AFL by Liberians, who were inducted as Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and Brigade Commander, respectively.
They also expressed disappointment in which they were released from the army without the due protocol of retiring the person who served the nations.
“We retired without benefits like; social security, insurance and what was given us was just a resettlement package,” said retired Capt. Dunbar.
“The Government should have restructured the army instead of dissolving the army because most of us are professional and were still able to serve,” he concluded.
There was no formal activity in Nimba to commemorate the Armed Forces Day celebration, which was being held in Monrovia.