01 October 2010
AFM 40th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS, THANKSGIVING MASS & MEDAL-AWARDING CEREMONY
Today is the Armed Forces of Malta's 40th Anniversary, and a Thanksgiving Mass was this morning celebrated at St. John's Cathedral in Valletta by Mons. Mario Grech, Bishop of Gozo. A Long Service and Efficiency Medal awarding ceremony was later held at Luqa Barracks.
Two detachments of AFM personnel this morning formed up a Guard of Honour on St. John's Square with the AFM Band, before the Thanksgiving Mass which was attending by the Acting President Dr. Tabone and the Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi. Besides a sizeable number of AFM personnel from its five Units, a noteable presence was seen of retired ex-Servicemen who had served in the Royal Malta Artillery, the Royal Engineers Malta (Fortress Squadron), and the King's Own Malta Regiment, who together went on to from the core part of the AFM's precursor - the Malta Land Force.
After the Thanksgiving Mass, Commander AFM, Brigadier Martin G. Xuereb, presented the Long Service and Efficiency Medal and clasps to 40 AFM personnel. Seven of these had completed their 18 years of service, 29 had clocked their 25 years or service, whilst two soldiers were presented clasps to their medal for their 30 years of service on the Force.
In a brief address, Brigadier Xuereb praised the medal recipients' performance and dedication to duty, whilst recalling how the ceremony was always associated in the Force with the annual AFM Day, which this year was extra special given the 40th Anniverary being celebrated.
The AFM has this week been holding a number of events to commemorate the passage of Maltese troops from the British Crown to the Maltese Government's responsibility in 1970. Earlier this week, soldiers from its various Units carried out volountary work at the Dar tal-Providenza in Siggiewi.
Yesterday evening, the AFM Band gave a symphonic concert at the Upper Barrakka in Valletta, under the patronage of the Prime Minister.
And tomorrow, a first-ever AFM Open Day in Gozo will be held in Mgarr harbour, Gozo. The days' programme kicks off with a flag-raising ceremony on board P-61, at 10 a.m. The Hon. Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo will be visiting the stands purposely set up on the Mgarr quay, and predominantly manned by Gozitan personnel of the AFM. The Acting President Dr. Tabone will be visiting the event at around 12 noon. The day will be capped off in the afternoon with aerial rescue displays by an AFM helicopter, and a fast ship-boarding and search-seizure demonstration by the Maritime Squadron's Rapid Deployment Team.
Later in the evening, the AFM Officers' Mess at Luqa Barracks will host the largest ever reunion of former Officers who served on the Force.
On Sunday, the annual AFM Open Day will once again return to Luqa Barracks, gates opening at 11 a.m for the public.
||AFM Anniversary Celebrations