On March 22nd, the Commander of the Air Force, Lt Gen Charles Okidi, passed out 12 pilots and 52 engineers who finished an eight-month training course in operating Mi-28 attack helicopters at Soroti Air Force Wing.
Lt Gen Okidi, Chief of Defence Forces, spoke on behalf of Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi and praised the trainees for their excellent discipline and resilience since the training began, urging them to ensure the safety of the recently acquired strategic assets.
“There is no doubt that the introduction of attack helicopters into the battlefield shifted the tides of war in Northern Uganda in favor of the UPDF against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and continues to do so in subsequent operations. As a result of the acquisition of New Air Assets, we are now better prepared to serve our beloved nation in that capacity,” Lt Gen Okidi said.
According to Lt Gen Okidi, the Air Force has the capability to provide the much-needed air power necessary in joint operations because it is mandated to provide and assist ground forces, which can only be accomplished through continuous training.
The Commander UPDF Air Forces stated during his remarks that the Soroti Air Force Wing would soon be elevated to handle the Eastern sector, the Aviation Deployment Centre, and the insecurity in the Karamoja region.
The Soroti Air Force Wing Commandant, Lt Col Collins Nkwasibwe, encouraged the graduates to continue training in order to achieve perfection and remain relevant.
“Training is a continuous process; perfection requires time, effort, and determination; therefore, prepare for war and prepare for peace,” he said.
Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba, Chief of Staff-Land Forces, Brig Gen David Gonyi, Chief of Staff-Air Forces, Brig Gen Mwanje, Chief of Staff-Reserve Forces, and Brig Gen Isimbwa were among those present.
Last year, President Museveni inaugurated a helicopter Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) center at Nakasongola Air Base to refurbish attack helicopters.