In a month during which the South African Air Force recalls the memory of thousands of its members who gave their lives in service for their country in times of war and in times of peace, those still serving are also recognised.
AFB Ysterplaat held just one of many Medal Parades that will take place at air force bases around the country.
In conferring the 61 medals to members of Ysterplaat on 22 May, the Revue Officer, Brig Gen ZA Vellem, Director Air Transport d Maritime Systems, noted that the Parade was “one of the South African National Defence Force’s most unique and long-standing traditions where we publically announce and recognise the extraordinary achievements and the outstanding service delivered by our men and women in blue.”
Medals symbolise honour, loyalty, bravery and dedicated service to their country, Vellem declared, and the strength of the Air Force lies in the diversity of its people.
Referring to the challenges facing the Air Force, Vellem said: “Our organisation, the Department of Defence, like other departments, is going through a difficult time in terms of funding and budget cuts, something that makes it difficult for us to conduct our core business.”
“But,” Vellem continued, “believe me, the leadership of the Air Force is doing everything possible to make life and working conditions suitable and affordable for each and every one of us.”
The leadership of the Air Force was, he declared, also doing everything possible to achieve its goals and objectives and to deliver on its mandate in order to meet the expectations of Government and our country.
In total, one Tshumelo Ikatelaho Medal (General Service Medal) for service in military operations for which individual campaign medals are not issued was awarded, 51 20 Year Loyal Service Medals and nine 10 Year Loyal Service Medals were presented.
The next airbase to hold a Medal Parade is AFB Langebaanweg, on 23 May.