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Uphold Your Duty To Your Country And Institution, Major Nagauna Tells 3FIR

Corporal Sukanaivalu was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Commonwealth forces. He is the only Fijian to be awarded the medal.
19 Jun 2020 10:18
Uphold Your Duty To Your Country And Institution, Major Nagauna Tells 3FIR
Commanding Officer of Bravo Company Captain Venina Vakadewabuka (front right) leads the 3FIR parade to launch Infantry Week at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 18, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media

Members of the Third Battalion Fijian Infantry Regiment (3FIR) of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces were yesterday reminded of the great tradition they had to uphold in their duty to country and loyalty to the institution.

In a parade to mark the launch of the Infantry Week celebrations at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Acting Battalion 2IC Major Atonio Nagauna reminded the infantrymen and women to commit to their calling in the RFMF.

“Keep in mind that above all else you have to remain true to what the institution demands of you and do your duty with due diligence,” Major Nagauna said.

He said the history of Infantry Week went back to World War II (WWII) when Fiji sent over the First Battalion and the Third Battalion to the war in the Solomon Islands.

The Third Battalion came back from WWII and has become the home guard, which focused on the safety and security of the nation.

3FIR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Aseri Rokoura addresses the 3FIR during a parade to launch the Infantry Week at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 18, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media

3FIR Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Aseri Rokoura addresses the 3FIR during a parade to launch the
Infantry Week at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 18, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media

Corporal Sukanaivalu’ssacrifice: Why we celebrate Infantry Day

Major Nagauna also shared why Infantry Day was significant to the Fijian unit.

“It is derived from Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, who was a member of the Third Battalion that died while fighting in Bougainville on June 23, that is the day we commemorate Infantry Day,” he said.

Corporal Sukanaivalu was a posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to Commonwealth forces. He is the only Fijian to be awarded the medal.

“His death symbolises the ultimate sacrifice, he is a shining example of a true infantryman the values of courage, loyalty and dedication to duty,” Major Nagauna said.

“The role of the infantry is that we are foot soldiers, we fight on the frontline. That same tradition is carried on by us, different units of the Army play different roles.”

He said Infantry Week celebrations this year were rather low key keeping in mind the restrictions the COVID-19 pandemic had left everyone in.

“This year instead of military activities we will go out to the community and do some community work,” he said.

“Even though Infantry Day is a day to commemorate the ultimate sacrifices by many of the infantry in the battlefield, we have also taken on board the fact that we are also fighting another war against climate change.

“We have included community-based activities for the week, this includes the Senior Citizens Home in Samabula and the Twomey Hospital in Tamavua where we will be cleaning and carrying out minor maintenance works.

“We have tree-planting activities including mangrove planting along the Nasese foreshore and we will also have a dawn service on Tuesday, which is Infantry Day.”

Members of the Third Battalion Fijian Infantry Regiment (3FIR) prepare for a parade to launch the Infantry Week at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 18, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media Inset: Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu.

Members of the Third Battalion Fijian Infantry Regiment (3FIR) prepare for a parade to launch the Infantry Week at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua on June 18, 2020. Photo: RFMF Media Inset: Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu.

He said apart from their normal work routines 120 men and women from the infantry were also included in the contact tracing teams for COVID-19.

There are also units deployed to humanitarian work with the pandemic and rehabilitation efforts post-Tropical Cyclone Harold.

He added that a unit from within the 3FIR was getting ready to be deployed to Golan Heights in October.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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