The third and final Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) medal parade held in the Western Cape during 2017 took place at the Naval Base Simon’s Town Martello Sports Grounds on Friday 29 September.
The Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF), Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang, on behalf of the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, conferred various service medals to deserving members of the SANDF, against a backdrop of a South Africa Navy frigate and submarine cruising in False Bay.
The purpose of the parade was to honour SANDF members who have rendered good service in the defence force over the years.
One Fifty Years Good Service Medal, 10 Forty Years Good Service Medals and 55 Thirty Years Good Service Medals were conferred as a token of appreciation to current and former members who have served with loyalty and dedication in execution of the SANDF mandate.
As Msimang noted in his speech, the history of honours and awards goes as far back as the third century. Military commanders have always realised that recognition of meritorious service or deeds of bravery by way of conferring an honour or an award inspires further such achievement by the recipients and their peers.
Tongue in check, Msimang quoted Napoleon Bonaparte who once said: “Give me enough medals and I’ll win you any war.”
“You should be proud of your loyal service to our motherland and continent,” Msimang told the medal recipients, “Befittingly, today proudly affirms your hard work and dedication. We celebrate your service and sacrifice, thank you for your devotion.”
Recognising the long periods spent away from families, he continued: “The SANDF wishes to express its appreciation to your families as well. For the sacrifices they too have made in supporting you during your service to this great nation.”
On behalf of the Chief of the SANDF, Msimang told the medal recipients to “wear your medals with pride, dignity and let it be a pledge to yourselves and to the nation of your personal commitment to strive for excellence and to defend our democracy.”
Besides the spectacle of the frigate SAS Spioenkop (F147) and submarine SAS Manthatisi (S101) providing a spectacular backdrop to the parade, a SAAF Oryx helicopter carrying a large SANDF flag performed a flypast at the commencement of the parade.