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Seven engineers officially commissioned by the SAAF

By Amn Tebogo E. Kekana, AD ASTRA Magazine, photos by F Sgt Lebo Vaarland, (5ASU), F Sgt David Nomtshongwana, WO2 Christo Crous.

History was made when CAF, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano officially commissioned seven engineers at the annual Stanley Walters award-giving ceremony that was held at the Officer’s mess, AFB Waterkloof on the 23 January 2009.

The annual Stanley Walters formal dinner for student engineers was initiated in 1993 by the SAAF Association with the aim of giving recognition to the student who achieved the best overall academic percentage during his/her full time studies for Bachelor of Science (Engineering) while at University. This event was a celebration dedicated to the seven students who recently completed their studies at University of Pretoria and Stellenbosch.

The CAF addressed the students saying, “You are privileged to have had the chance to study full time at state expense”. He further informed the students of the changes that are taking place in the Department of Defence and the SAAF; he also informed them of the projects that are to be launched in the near future. He stressed that balance is required in any lifestyle; fitness needs to be retained as it strengthens the mind and that makes it easier to study.

Phillip Weyers (SAAFA) addressed the students telling them that they should not stop studying engineering just because they are now graduates but they should keep on working and studying. He shared a bit about the life of the late Lt Col Stanley Walters before handing the floating trophy to 2Lt B.J. Blom, who achieved the best overall academic percentage for his studies at the University of Stellenbosch.

2Lt Blom started his career in the SA Air Force in January 2003 and successfully completed his Basic Military Training then progressed to officer’s forming course. He then registered for Introduction to Engineering programme at the University of Pretoria. In 2003 he enrolled for BSc (Industrial Engineering degree) at University of Stellenbosch. In 2005 he requested that his study direction be changed from Industrial to Electronic Engineering.

These awards (Stanley Walters) are named after an ace pilot who was involved in both World War I and II. He left the Union Defence Force in 1945 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and then remained a reservist until 1956. He further continued to pursue a career in the aviation environment where he became a pioneer of the African routes. In his last will he left an amount of money to the Johannesburg Air Force Association. Those funds are the ones that help in making this prestige awards possible.

Among the guests were Maj Gen M.M.M. Mangethe (GOC Air Command), Maj Gen H.T. Paine (CDFP), Col L. Ramcharan (Acting Director Technical Support Services), Col T.P. Sehlare (OC 68 Air School), Col E. Phale (SSO Technical Developing), Col H.J Steyn (SSO Engineering Services), Phillip Weyers (SAAFA National President), Ken Snowball (SAAFA Designated National President) and Mr Dan Johnson (SAAFA Chairman of Johannesburg Branch).

The following students were commissioned :( not in any particular order)

2Lt B.J. Blom
2Lt N.D. Lottering
2Lt S.A. Tire
2Lt E. Sibanda
2Lt S.N. Kolisi
2Lt D.A. Tselane
CO J Cronje


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