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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Profile of a South African Infantryman

All effective and organized military doctrine is based on a philosophy created by the powers that be in that particular country. Therefore it is advisable to base the profile of an infantryman solely on the philosophy of what a South African Infantry Soldier should resemble. I suggest the following philosophy based on my experience as an Infantry Officer in the SANDF:

A South African Infantry soldier is a disciplined and physically- and psychologically fit volunteer who is well-equipped with equipment selected on the basis of well-informed multi-market research done by qualified senior personnel who have experience in most arenas of warfare and/or training exercises. He/she must be well-trained by the best pre-evaluated instructors in the SANDF according to approved and continually improving doctrine and training manuals and according to agreed-upon interpretations of training manuals by the various infantry training units.

The philosophy of what a South African Infantry Soldier looks like therefore firstly ensures that we have soldiers who have been taught discipline primarily on the parade ground by competent well-trained NCO’s who had cadre training just before drill classes started from Master Warrant Officers who are professional and have themselves ensured that their interpretations of what the drill manual says is based on what all infantry units agree upon by means of attending an annual work session for all Master Warrant Officers. This idea should obviously be followed on all levels of training and for all types of training with emphasis on training the infantrymen for the first day of the next war and not for the last day of the previous war. The point is to standardize and to simplify the process of giving the recruit a professional disciplined and well-trained start to his/her military career.

Secondly the infantry soldier is a well-armed and well-equipped individual who knows that he/she can rely upon the equipment his life may depend upon. The standard to be considered when supplying his/her equipment should be firstly based on quality and not on economical reasons. If it is too expensive to equip your soldiers you should then concentrate on deciding what the point is of having badly-equipped and unmotivated soldiers since failure to provide economically will also reflect in other areas of his/her daily life and lead to demotivation and ill discipline. A soldier is a thinking human being who deserves the comforts as such when not in combat. In the end he/she is expected to give their lives if need be to defend South Africa.

Whichever philosophy is chosen should be displayed visibly at all infantry units and training units and should also compliment the overall philosophy of the SANDF for the effective defence of the country. The overall philosophy of the SANDF should also guard against the eventual encroachment of what is termed the Military Industrial Complex, which leads to military adventures based on the economic enrichment of corporations. Such undertakings would make obsolete the whole point of having a defence force as it would not seek to defend the people of South Africa against military invasions, but rather to involve the country in costly self-generated wars.


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