The Malta Independent 24 June 2019, Monday

Brigadier Vassallo Passes the baton to new AFM Commander

Malta Independent Saturday, 16 January 2010, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Becoming commander was far from his mind, back when he first joined the Armed Forces of Malta as a cadet officer, an emotional Brigadier Carmel Vassallo said yesterday during his address at the change-of-command ceremony.

During the time-honoured tradition, the outgoing Brigadier, who was commanded the AFM for the past five years, inspected a guard of honour, before being handed the AFM colours by an Ensign.

Brigadier Vassallo then proceeded to pass it on to the new Commander, Colonel Martin Xuereb, who will take up his new post as from Monday. The passing on of the AFM colours represents the transfer of authority, from one Commander to the next.

Colonel Xuereb said this was a truly memorable day for him, and thanked his wife, family and parents, as without their constant support he would not have made it this far. His perspective had changed with his time in the AFM, he said, but the thing which remained unchanged was his ambition and determination.

The fact that Brigadier Vassallo had strengthened the foundations made it easier for him to assume his responsibilities, he said. Colonel Xuereb promised to do his best to serve the country, and expressed hope that everyone would pull the same strong, unfrayed rope.

Brigadier Vassallo said that when he first joined the AFM, they were not aware of quite what the new responsibilities would entail. Over the past few years the changes had been constant, with new issues arising, such as that of illegal immigration. The AFM had responded to the country’s needs accordingly, he said.

While thanking those who had given him their full support in the past years, Brigadier Vassallo called on them to continue showing the same support and loyalty to his successor.

Earlier yesterday, marking the end of his career with the AFM, Brigadier Vassallo paid a visit to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi at Castille.

During the visit Dr Gonzi said he wished to thank Brigadier Vassallo for fulfilling his role in the AFM, which he said he had done with responsibility, dedication, loyalty and a sense of professionalism.

Such ceremonies are rich in military tradition, according to an AFM spokesman, and provide the outgoing Commander with an opportunity to say goodbye, and the new Commander with a chance to greet his personnel.

This tradition is purposely being revived in Malta, to form part of the AFM’s heritage, as a way of paying homage to the departing Commander, and publicly demonstrating the soldiers’ loyalty to the new.

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