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 Article by Amn Morongwa Kgomosotho, AD ASTRA Magazine; photos by 68 Air School

A Change of Command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one commander to another in a Unit. The outgoing Officer Commanding (OC), 68 Air School, Col Johannes Blom handed-over the Sword of Command to the newly appointed OC, Col Patswaite Letlape in an indoor ceremony held on 10 March 2016 at 68 Air School (School), Pretoria.

The outgoing OC,68 Air School, Col Blom addressing members during the indoor ceremony

As he gave the last salute to the Unit members in his capacity as the OC, Col Blom, thanked the Chief of Air Force (CAF) Lt Gen Zimpande Msimang and Air Force Board for having trusted him with the command of the School. “It is not every officer that gets the opportunity to command a Unit during his or her career; therefore it is really an honour and a privilege to serve in this capacity”, he said. He is now  appointed OC, Central Flying School at Air Force Base (AFB) Langebaanweg.  

The outgoing OC of 68 Air School,Col Blom (left) hand-over the Sword of Command to his successor, Col Letlape

During his tenure as OC, the School managed to re-obtain accreditation from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) for the aviation type trades. The accreditation (TETA) was the first time ever in the history of apprentice training in the SAAF, which enables an apprentice that successfully completed a trade test, to receive a National Artisan Certificate.

During 2015 SAAF Prestigious Awards ceremony, the School was awarded the Royal Air Force Training Trophy and Bronze in the Training Unit Category. In 2016, the School received a Silver trophy in the Training Unit Category. Col Blom acknowledged the role played by ordinary members of the Unit. “Today, I want to thank you again for your remarkable contribution in the making of history, no Officer Commanding can command a Unit successfully if he or she does not have a support network”, he said.

Col Patswaite Letlape accepts the command of the 68 Air School

The new incumbent, Col Letlape has served in various senior positions which include SSO Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality (SHERQ) at Directorate Aviation Safe (DAS), SSO Operational Support System at the Directorate Base Support Systems (DBSS) from 2013 until December 2015, to mention just the few.

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