Officers and soldiers of the Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment (3FIR) have been reminded to stand by their oath of service and not be deterred by criticisms from the public.
Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto told the 3FIR members that there should be no lip service.
“You should continue to serve all Fijians because this is enshrined in the 2013 Constitution,” he said at the Infantry Week church service for the 3FIR at the RFMF Chapel at Queen Elizabeth’s Barracks, Nabua.
Rear Admiral Naupoto said they should be faithful in carrying out their duty, especially when they would be involved with the people.
The commander said he was always proud to wear his infantry badge.
He said soldiers were now living and working in an age where technology changed the concept of warfare and buttons were pushed to send high-tech weapons to enemy territory.
However, Rear Admiral Naupoto said, in the olden days war was usually preceded by challenges and combatants advanced and fought each other face to face.
He urged members of the 3FIR to remember their fallen comrades and made special mention of Fiji’s only recipient of the Victoria Cross – the highest honour for gallantry – Corporal Sefanaia Sukanaivalu, who is buried with other Fijian soldiers at the Rabaul War Cemetery in Bita Paka, Papua New Guinea.
Rear Admiral Naupoto said he visited the cemetery in 2013 and noticed that while all the 34 fallen soldiers had their names on their graves, except one on whose gravestone was written – “Fijian soldier known unto God”.
He has urged the 3FIR to raise funds and visit the fallen soldiers at Rabaul War Cemetery during their Infantry Week next year.
After the church service Rear Admiral Naupoto and one of the late Corporal Sukanaivalu’s grandsons Eroni Delai Vulakoro laid a wreath each to remember the fallen soldiers.