Government looking into the problems Gozitan soldiers face
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This morning seventy-eight soldiers proudly marched on the AFM parade ground at Luqa Barracks in front of distinguished guests and family members. This occasion, a momentous one for each recruit, brings to a close 19 weeks of challenging training. The ‘pass-out’ parade marks the beginning of each recruit’s life as a full member of the Armed Forces of Malta.
The parade was reviewed by Dr Manuel Mallia, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, and the Commander of the AFM, Brigadier Martin Xuereb.In his speech Minister Dr Manuel Mallia mentioned the problems Gozitan soldiers face and said that the Government was looking into solutions to ease these problems. The Minister said the Government was analysing the prospects of further utilising EU funds to improve army equipment and facilities.
The Minister also said the Government was looking into schemes, including better childcare facilities, to encourage more women to join the army. The minister pointed out that only four per cent of soldiers were women, five of whom were among this morning’s recruits.
Minister Mallia reiterated the Goverment’s intention to keep the soldier athlete scheme which allows recruit athletes to practice their professional sport for twenty hours, while working in the Army for the other twenty hours.
One of today’s new recruits, benefitting from the scheme, is the shooter William Chetcuti. Gunner Chetcuti has represented Malta at world class events, including at the London 2012 Olympics.
Brigadier Martin G Xuereb emphasised that while this was a joyous day for the recruits and their families it was also an important day on which the Force wholeheartedly welcomed those who have consciously chosen a career in the Armed Forces of Malta.
For the new members of the Force, the journey leading to today’s parade started months ago when, together with around another 130 applicants, they responded to an invitation to serve in the Regular Force of the Armed Forces of Malta. Following a selection process, 95 applicants were recruited and on 14th Jan 2013 training commenced. Of the original 95 that turned up at Luqa barracks on the first day of training 78 completed the course successfully.
During their months as recruits, the new AFM soldiers were guided through three distinctive phases. Phase one, which helped recruits adjust to military life, was a prelude to subsequent phases which, building on the foundations laid in the first weeks sought to ensure that each and every potential full member of the Force was prepared for a career at the core of which is the will to serve.