MONROVIA, Liberia – The Armed Forces of Liberia moved a step closer to operational independence with a change-of-command, Sept. 17, 2013.
AFL Capt. Roland Murphy took command of the Logistics Command from Nigerian Army Lt. Col. Wosiu Bakare in a ceremony at Edward Binyah Kesselly Barracks.
Nigerian Army officers hold several positions within the AFL, and this transition marks an important milestone, said Bakare.
“The Logistics Command is kick-starting the handing over of the force to the indigenous personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia,” he said. He added that the AFL has shown significant growth and is on schedule to become a completely indigenous force by late 2014.
He said he appreciates the work the soldiers serving in LOGCOM have accomplished in his 18 months as commander, and looks forward to serving with Murphy as an adviser.
“On behalf of myself, the mentors, and the officers and enlisted of the logistics command, of the AFL, I want to congratulate the commander for this appointment, and I wish [the soldiers] the best in taking the logistics command forward,” said Bakare.
Murphy, who joined the AFL in 2007, took command of LOGCOM following his assignment as the assistant chief of staff, J5, at Headquarters AFL.
Murphy said the event should make all Liberians proud.
“This is a new army, and to start turning over command to indigenous Liberians shows that we are improving and are ready to take command.”
With more than 260 soldiers and five core functions including communications, facilities, medical, supply, transportation and maintenance, LOGCOM is the most diverse command in the AFL, said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jonathon Gonzalez, Operation ONWARD LIBERTY LOGCOM adviser.
“That’s the blood of AFL,” said Gonzalez, a Pasadena, Texas, native. “With the heart being the infantry, without the blood to do anything, you cannot go anywhere. LOGCOM’s mission is to not only support and enhance the abilities of the infantry and AFL, but also make sure they have sustainment that follows their core values.”
U.S. service members, deployed to Monrovia with the U.S. Marine-led OOL, have been advising the AFL since 2010. OOL’s mission is to mentor and assist the AFL as it seeks to develop a national military that is responsible, operationally capable, and is a force for good among the Liberian people.
Along with the members of OOL, Nigeria, as a member of the Economic Community of West African States, also actively supports Liberia’s efforts to rebuild following more than 14 years of civil war. Until the ceremony, Nigerian Army officers commanded three AFL positions: AFL Headquarters commanding officer-in-charge, 23rd Brigade Headquarters commander, and LOGCOM commander. As AFL officers fill the remaining positions, the Nigerian Army commanders will transition into an adviser role.
“It is very important that Nigeria [assist with] the success of Liberia,” said Bakare. “One of the ways is assisting with the building of the new Armed Forces of Liberia. We are all in the same sub-region, and whatever influences Liberia will definitely touch Nigeria.”
With advisers acting as a support system, “there has been great improvement in the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Logistics Command,” said Bakare.
“If you take a product like LOGCOM and hand it back to the AFL, it shows that not only does the ECOWAS and the U.S. have full confidence in the capability of Liberia to run their own logistics, the next step can only be infantry,” said Gonzalez.
He added that the advisers will continue to work together to strengthen the AFL’s capabilities.
“We have set a foundation for the LOGCOM,” said Gonzalez. “I can only hope that we will build on that foundation to achieve a greater success for not only the brigade and the soldiers, but also for their support to Liberia.”
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This work, Logistics Command change signals growth in AFL as independent force, by SMSgt Brian Bahret, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.