Retired soldiers stand tall on RBAF Day

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

TUTONG

RETIRED military personnel stood tall and saluted the men and women in uniform who marched during the the Royal Brunei Armed Forces’ (RBAF) 54th anniversary parade at Penanjong Garrison yesterday.

Major (Rtd) Hj Karim Sapar, deputy president of the Retired Military Personnel Association, was among those who shared their pride in witnessing the development of RBAF since it was established in 1961.

In an interview on the sidelines of RBAF anniversary celebrations, Major (Rtd) Hj Karim said he was the first intake of Brunei’s military, when it was still known as the Brunei Malay Regiment.

He said one of the major developments was RBAF’s ability to train more recruits in the country as he had his training at the Segenting Camp in Port Dickson, Malaysia.

“In the past, there was no such thing as military schools, including the Infantry School and the Officer Cadet School (OCS), most of us had to be sent overseas for training,” he said.

“I feel proud to see that we have all of these facilities available now, most of our military members are locally trained - from being in the infantry and being in the air force – but of course we still send them overseas to be trained as a specialist in specific fields,” he added.

He said 90 per cent of military personnel were sent overseas in the past, but could have been reduced to only 20 per cent now.

“I am proud to say that we have come a long way to be able to achieve such a feat,” he added.

Major (Rtd) Hj Karim went on to say that the anniversary celebrations continued to be held in a larger scale compared to the first one in 1962.

Rokiah Hj Tahir of the third RBAF intake and Lance Corporal (Rtd) Pg Noriah Pg Hj Othman also shared their pride in witnessing the military institution’s growth.

“When it first started, the number of people joining could still be easily counted but now we see that whenever there are recruitments, a lot of people are interested to join,” they said.

Meanwhile, Staff Sergeant (Rtd) Hj Umar Sarudin, chair of the Retired Military Personnel Association Brunei-Muara Branch said he was impressed with how military technology has developed since he joined the 18th intake in 1968.

“This can be seen in terms of how we communicate among one another, in the past we may have to write and sent telegrams to others but now it is as easy as sending messages through WhatsApp,” he said.

Staff Sergeant (Rtd) Hj Umar also said that retiring from the military service does not mean they stop contributing to the community.

“After retiring from the RBAF, I joined the Retired Military Personnel Association and took part in a number of projects, particularly caring for the welfare of others, especially the underprivileged and work on ways to help them,” he said.

The Brunei Times