NATION

A Lieutenant-Colonel’s Account: What Life Is Like As A Peacekeeper

It isn’t easy to start a family and then suddenly get up and leave because duty calls. But such is the life of a soldier whose life is not lived
05 Jun 2018 10:03
A Lieutenant-Colonel’s Account: What Life Is Like As A Peacekeeper
Deputy Secretary for Defence and National Security Ilai Moceica during the UN 40th Anniversary Celebrations Media Launch on June 4,2018.Photo:Simione Haravanua.

It isn’t easy to start a family and then suddenly get up and leave because duty calls.

But such is the life of a soldier whose life is not lived only for his or her family but also for his or her country and those they have sworn to protect at all costs.

That’s the story of many but more so for Lieutenant-Colonel Ilai Moceica who is now working at the Ministry of Defence and National Security as the deputy secretary.

He shared his story during the launch of the 40th Anniversary of the start of Fiji’s contribution to the United Nations in Suva yes­terday.

His story begins in 1985 as an 18-year-old.

He was first deployed under the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

Lieutenant-Colonel Moceica said when he was first deployed to Leb­anon, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation were less than 500 metres from their location and ap­peared every night trying to gain access in the village they were pro­tecting.

“Those were some life-threaten­ing moments that we had faced. We were just counting our days to come back home and see our fami­lies.

“Some of the memories I have was of the bombardments hap­pening around me as I had just got out of high school and thrown into that field.

“I am thankful Government in­vested in bushmasters.”

He honoured the Fijian men and women who have and continue to serve in UN Peacekeeping opera­tions and have contributed to the Fijian economy.

“They have also been leaders in various organisations and the Government today,” he said.

“Our contribution as a nation in the international community bringing peace to the less fortu­nate and those who came from fac­ing the war, contributing towards peacekeeping, it has contributed to national building.

“I was motivated to join the Mili­tary because of the work that they do was very brave.

“I had joined the Military force at the age of 18. I was passionate about it from the cadet passing out parades we had in school.

“Like any young Fijian when we see the uniform and the ser­vice and sacrifices that was done overseas, it was my driving force to join the Military,” Mr Moceica said.

He went to Lebanon then to Sinai with the Multinational Force & Observers.

When he returned he attended the Regular Officers Selection Board (ROSB), and was commis­sioned as an officer in 1991.

“My best memory was when I had recently joined the Military as a peacekeeper, I had nothing to worry about being a bachelor as my family was well looked after by my siblings.

“One of the sad moments for me was in 1997 when my youngest daughter was born while I was out on the mission in Lebanon.

“I had to leave my expecting wife behind while she was pregnant and she had to look after herself while I was supposed to be looking after her.

“But I am thankful because it was the call of duty for the service and sacrifice that we did for our na­tion and had obligation to do as soldiers,” Lieutenant-Colonel Mo­ceica said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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