Ex-army chief on 40 years of forces

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @alial­shouk ali.shouk@7days.ae

A se­ries of im­ages chart­ing the early days of the UAE Armed Forces have been re­leased, 40 years af­ter the for­ma­tion of the mil­i­tary.

The pic­tures show UAE for­mer Chief of Staff Sheikh Faisal bin Sul­tan Al Qas­simi along­side HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sul­tan Al Nahyan, the found­ing fa­ther of the UAE.

Sheikh Faisal was in­ter­viewed by na­tional news agency WAM yes­ter­day - and re­called join­ing the army at the age of 14.

The found­ing of a fed­eral army in May 1976 saw the forces of the emi­rates come to­gether, af­ter the union of the seven emi­rates in 1971.

Sheikh Faisal said he was barely in his teens when he joined the army, and said he spent much of his early life in train­ing camps.

“I was very busy with the mil­i­tary and spent most of my early years in mil­i­tary bases and units. I was 14 when I joined the army - I was train­ing by 14.” Ac­cord­ing to the By Ali Al Shouk WAM in­ter­view, Sheikh Faisal ex­pressed pride at be­ing in the first gen­er­a­tion of the armed forces.

He also said that UAE lead­ers faced the chal­lenges of the time with courage. He said: “It was a wise de­ci­sion by our lead­ers to unite the armed forces 40 years ago.

“Our forces now have the lat­est mil­i­tary tech­nol­ogy and weapons.”

The first base was in Al Qasemiya base in Sharjah though to­day the forces are based across the coun­try.

UAE soldiers have been de­ployed in a num­ber of con­flicts in­clud­ing against Iraq af­ter the in­va­sion of Kuwait, to peace­keep­ing du­ties in Bos­nia and to Ye­men, where they are cur­rently in­volved in fight­ing against Houthi rebels and Al Qaeda.

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