Ex-army chief on 40 years of forces
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.