The Government of the United States of America has decorated six UPDF Generals in recognition of their exceptionally good contribution in the fight against terrorism and pacification efforts in Somalia.
The Generals were on September 30, 2015 decorated with the prestigious Legion of Merit medals of USA at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence headquarters in Mbuya. The Legion of Merit is a US military award issued for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is also to figures of foreign governments.
On behalf of the United States Government, General David M. Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. Africa Command headquartered in Germany, decorated Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, Lt Gen Andrew Gutti, Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga, Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha, Maj Gen Francis Okello and Maj Gen Fred Mugisha. The last five are former AMISOM Force commanders, whereas Gen Edward Katumba Wamala was the Commander Land Forces directly charged with harmonizing UPDF operations in Somalia and now the Chief of Defence Forces of the UPDF.
Gen Rodriguez said less than 200 of the awards have been given to leaders of foreign countries and that the six are the first in Uganda. He further said the six awards were given in recognition of “the efforts and tremendous leadership that has been demonstrated by the Ugandan leaders in AMISOM.”
“Because of these leaders, because of what they have done in command of troops out in Somalia, the Somali people have a chance to live a better life.”
He noted that part of their leadership effort was responsible for Somalia now having a seated Government. “I represent my Country to say thank you,” he said after a citation signed by the US Secretary of Defence was read shortly before the Generals were decorated.
Gen Edward Katumba Wamala recognized the external support UPDF receives in Somalia and specifically said the US government has been a very committed partner who never let the mission down.
“At some state you may find some getting fatigued but please let’s not get fatigued yet. We feel we are at the last lap of the run and we should go for the finishing line,” he said.
Gen Wamala added: “If we had not done what we together with our partners did in Somalia, the country would be a very big safe haven for the terrible guys (terrorists) and effects would be far reaching.” He reiterated Uganda’s commitment to the mission saying, “We promise never to let down our ever committed partners and the people of Somalia. We’ll make sure the majority good people live a comfortable life and the few bad guys who sometimes have the monopoly of guns do not make life difficult for the many. We’ll remain focused on that and ensure the region is stable.
Photos from the event