Dawn service marks Infantry Day celebrations
Founded on the boots of infantry soldiers, members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces yesterday celebrated Infantry
It coincided with a Dawn Service to commemorate the late Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu. It was on the same day (23 June) 76 years ago when Corporal Sukanaivalu of the 3rd Battalion Fijian Infantry Regiment sacrificed his life on a Bougainville battlefield. His sacrifice saved the lives of his men. His courage was recognised by the Commonwealth’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
Infantry is the biggest core in the RFMF Commander of the RFMF, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, said the Infantry Day celebrations was a motivation for soldiers, young and old.
“When you swear an oath to join the military – you basically swear away the best part of your life – it’s sworn away to the service of others. It’s others first – self second, others first – family second,” he said.
RFMF personnel for instance supported the Ministry of Health during the recent COVID-19 response-contact tracing efforts. This was followed by rehabilitation efforts after TC Harold in Kadavu, Southern Lau, Vatulele and parts of the Western Division.
Rear Admiral Naupoto said being a soldier required a change in attitude and adjustment in the way one lived.
“This kind of celebration helps set the right kind of attitude, where it’s always others before self,” he said.
“Once that attitude is tuned correctly, where you’re second to everything else, it begins to reflect in their work – it imparts loyalty, obedience, sacrifice, and all those good virtues that is required of a RFMF personnel.”
Basic recruitment training for the RFMF is cut around the infantry. This also includes the navy and engineers.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama attended the Dawn Service and laid a wreath in memory of the late Corporal Sukanaivalu.
He also visited the new RFMF Intensive Care Unit located next to the RFMF Military Hospital. Refurbishments began at the end of March, after Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient was announced. It was completed last month, but never used.
The unit was set up to cater for frontline workers who were likely to become seriously ill. There are four ICU beds with ventilators and one dialysis unit.
Others in attendance included Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho. The U.S Army Attaché, Major Andrew Giesey, read the requiescat after a re-enactment of Corporal Sukanaivalu’s heroic death by RFMF soldiers.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama joins former Republic of Fiji Military Forces comrades during the Dawn Service at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 23, 2020, marking the RFMF’s Infantry Day celebration.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the Dawn Service at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 23, 2020.
Crew members of RFNS Savenaca on their first operational surveillance deployment in the Northern and Western waters last week.
Left: Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama inside the RFMF’s new Intensive Care Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 23, 2020.