End of an era for Col van Rooyen


An officer who left a legacy of service from the days of the Commandos through to the Reserve Force retired earlier this month after more than 35 years of uniformed service.

Colonel Ferdi van Rooyen was seen off in true military tradition at a farewell function in Polokwane attended by, among others, SANDF Reserve chief, Major General Roy Andersen.

Van Rooyen’s military career goes back to April 1973 when he reported for basic military training as a rifleman at the Danie Theron Combat School outside Kimberley in Northern Cape. After three months he was promoted to candidate officer and progressed through the officer ranks until he was promoted to colonel on March 1, 2003. Among the medals he was awarded during his military career are the De Wet Decoration and the Pro-Patria Medal.

He served as Officer Commanding of the then Pietersburg Commando from August 1996 to July 2003, the commencement of disbanding the commando system as part of the national defence machine, After this he held various senior positions in the provincial Reserve Force structure in the northern part of the country.

Van Rooyen took part in any number of military operations and taskings rating Exercising of the Right of Freedom to enter the City of Pietersburg by the commando which carried the city’s name in 1999 as a particular highlight.

He authored “Uit die Gemeenskap, vir die Gemeenskap”, an Afrikaans history of the Pietersburg Commando until its closure in 2010.

With his military career officially over, Van Rooyen plans to devote himself full-time to his farming activities.