One of Fiji’s true heroes who made the ul­ti­mate sAC­rI­fiCE For the cause of our free­dom

Fiji Sun - - COMMENT - The late Cor­po­ral Se­fanaia Sukanaival­u. NEMANI DELAIBATIK­I Feed­back: nemani.delaibatik­i@fi­jisun.com.fj

Lest we for­get, to­day we com­mem­o­rate In­fantry Day, and re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fice of Vic­to­ria Cross win­ner, the late Cor­po­ral Se­fanaia Sukanaival­u.

Sev­enty-six years ago he made the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.

He gave his life on a Bougainvil­le bat­tle­field to pro­tect his men and help as­sure us free­dom we en­joy to­day.

He ex­em­pli­fied the mis­sion of our armed forces in the quest for world peace. Our troops have been in the fore­front of peace­keep­ing mis­sions in volatile areas.

From Bougainvil­le in the Solomon Is­lands to Zim­babwe, to the Golan Heights, the Si­nai, Ti­mor-Leste, South­ern Le­banon and Iraq, Fiji has served with dis­tinc­tion in po­lit­i­cal hot spots around the world.

Ac­cord­ing to mil­i­tary records the Fiji In­fantry Reg­i­ment’s first op­er­a­tions were much closer to home, serv­ing in the Pa­cific theatre of World War II. Orig­i­nally fo­cussed on de­fence of the Colony un­der New Zealand com­mand, the Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces shifted to sup­port the is­land-hop­ping Amer­i­can forces as the war pro­gressed.

Fi­jians served in Guadal­canal, Florida Is­land

[Nggela], New Ge­or­gia, and Vella.

In Bougainvil­le, Fi­jian sol­diers dis­played how good they were in jun­gle war­fare. They pro­vided valu­able in­tel­li­gence on en­emy lo­ca­tions.

Those heroes had left be­hind a proud legacy that con­tin­ues to in­spire the Repub­lic of Fiji Mil­i­tary Forces to­day.

Those who wear the uniform now rep­re­sent an in­sti­tu­tion that has earned its ex­cel­lent rep­u­ta­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally.

They have an im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­ity to main­tain that rep­u­ta­tion.

Apart from the late Cor­po­ral Sukanaival­u, oth­ers have died in the line of duty in De­fence of world peace. So on this In­fantry Day, let us spare a thought for them and think twice be­fore we crit­i­cise the RFMF.

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