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The account with President, Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konusi Konrote was fabricated accessible through the appeal of the Third Infantry Regiment in band with the Infantry Day Celebrations today.
President Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konrote and Fiji Sun Managing Editor News/Digital Rosi Doviverata at State Abode on June 22, 2020 . Photo: Ronald Kumar
Immediately afterwards commutual his Senior Cambridge at Natabua High Academy in Lautoka, a adolescent and adventuresome Jioji Konusi Konrote capital to try article different.
It was 1966. The Vietnam War had been angry for over ten years.
Young men about the apple apparently acquainted the aforementioned activity – become a soldier and accomplish the apple a bigger place.
Despite his parent’s affirmation to try anesthetic or engineering, the adolescent Konrote alone had one affair on his apperception – become a soldier.
His mother Mue Sakamu Konrote begin out about his aggressive expedition. She bound fabricated her way to Suva from Rotuma and accepted that her son allotment to school.
It did not work. Her son had his apperception set.
At the time, the Republic of Fiji Aggressive Forces was abundantly an infantry regiment. The adolescent Konrote baffled activity at the barrack. Toilet charwoman was mandatory. So was befitting able-bodied aloft the appropriate fettle akin or RFL.
Those baby years as a soldier accomplished him acquaint that able him for the abounding administration roles he was afterwards bestowed.
Infantry admiral artlessly accomplished to survive in any operational exercise.
After Fiji’s Independence in 1970, he was seconded to the New Zealand Armed Forces and served in the aristocratic New Zealand SAS. Afterwards he was seconded to the British Army Far East Land Forces.
He served as a Platoon Commander (Reconnaissance Platoon) with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Hampshire Regiment and a Staff Administrator in Headquarters 51 Infantry Brigade in Hong Kong.
The acknowledgment and acquaintance in both the British Army and in New Zealand afflicted his acumen as a inferior officer.
The acquaintance was invaluable.
He rose through the ranks of the RFMF to become a Major-General. But aboriginal on, he formed his mark as a affable but close leader.
He was the alone Fijian to authority the position of a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and circumstantial Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL 1997-1999).
These were apparently the highlight of his busy career beneath the dejected helmet.
But by this time, he was able-bodied abreast with the challenges encountered on the ground. Its dangers and politics.
He empiric that peacemaking and peacekeeping were two absolutely altered concepts.
In 1982 he was awarded the Aggressive Cross for Gallantry on Active Service.
Among the UN policymakers, he was not popular.
“Kofi Annan and I did not see eye to eye on issues, but that’s life.”
Mr Annan was the UN Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006.
Major-General (Retired) Konrote fought adamantine to accept all UN peacekeepers (particularly those countries not in the aboriginal apple category) to be remunerated equally.
During his time, accomplishment added from $11.23c per day to $23 per day.
Letters from home did not access afterwards one or two months.
Today our soldiers acquire $130 a day.
They can allocution to their families every day – from the abundance of their bunks with chargeless wi-fi.
“My admonition to these adolescent soldiers back they acknowledgment from a bout of duty, buy a house.
“Your ancestors is not activity to alive in a car.”
Another anniversary accomplishment was the advantage for Fijian soldiers who died in combat.
The US$50,000 advantage fabricated accessible alone for peacekeepers who were dead in activity afterwards 1997.
As soldiers accumulate today to bless Infantry Day, Major-General (Retired) Konrote is hopeful that those actuality at home and those confined away assignment to advance the bequest of actuality a ‘good soldier.’
“You’re actuality to do a job, do it to the best of your ability.”
For Major-General (Retired) Konrote, his appellation as President ends abutting year.
“I’ve done my bit for God, King, and country.
“It’s time to go fishing.”
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