South Africa: A few weeks ago, it was a buzz of excitement throughout the South African National Defence Force when the bulletin was released, informing the members of the SA National Defence Force about promotions and transfers of SA Army senior principals. Brigadier General H. J. Stroebel was one of the fortunate principals that was blessed with a promotion to the rank of Major General.
He will be promoted from the position of SA Army Support Formation Chief of Staff to the General Officer Commanding Logistics Support Formation.
The evening of Friday, the 27th of October 2022, was a bittersweet night in the Beyers Naudè Hall in Thaba Tshwane when the members of the SA Army Support Formation and family members were gathered to say goodbye to the most humble, understanding, and strong commander they have served over the years, and some of their colleagues going on retirement.
The event also served as an opportunity to bid farewell to the Formation Chaplain and other members of the Formation that are going on retirement. Different speakers delivered their heartfelt farewell speeches to the members leaving the Support Formation.
Each section had a representative to hand over gifts that were purchased by the section to bid farewell to their members.
Through their speeches, they took us down memory lane and painted a picture of how it was to work with their colleagues and how sad they were that they were leaving but happy at the same time that they were going to rest and spend their remaining years with their families as they have given the greatest part of their lives serving the organisation.
The SA Army Support Formation Acting Chief of Staff, Colonel W.V.L. Dube, during his introduction of the purpose of the night also said his goodbyes and later delivered a farewell message stating that this was not a goodbye but a time of recognising what the members contributed to the organisation.
He later released a message saying, “Goodbyes are very hard and painful. However, we should use this time to reflect on the contribution of these members of the Army Support Formation that we are bidding farewell today, I refuse to say that we are bidding farewell, but rather we are here to reflect on the times and moments we shared as we are starting a new chapter and journey that we will still travel together.
“The road or journey that we travel is not without challenges and turbulences, but through challenges experienced in the journey we refused to abandon each, we experienced moments of frustrations along this route however we never lost sight of the Formation mandate,” he said.
Colonel W.V.L. Dube also praised Brigadier General Stroebel for his tireless efforts, hard work, commitment, dedication, and professionalism he displayed throughout his term. “You had to steer and give direction to the Formation, and this task occurred amid challenges; you always put the interests of the Formation at heart.”
In bidding farewell to the outgoing Chaplain Ledwaba, Colonel Dube remarked: “To the Lion of the North, a man from royalty, it was an honour and privilege to have worked with you, a humble but straightforward person. It was under your leadership that the unity of the Army Support Formation was realised. You went beyond your calling to make fellowship with Army Support Formation enjoyable. We enjoyed your words of encouragement during the trying times of COVID-19, we remember that you also tested positive, and when you came back from your leave, you came back much stronger, and you encouraged members should go to the hospital if they did not feel well. It was under your leadership that you published the Army Support Formation hymns book, which will forever remain your legacy. You have made your difference.”
To members going on Mobility Exit Mechanism and retirement, you were true Support Warriors. You have played a role in building and shaping this Formation. Your achievements will be forever remembered years and years after your retirement, we might have had bad times together, but the good times kept us glued together for the sole mandate of Army Support Formation.
Colleagues, as you are going on retirement, also remember the projects that we initiated. You are fully part of them. Please come and let us exchange ideas to ensure that we have a footprint throughout the country, and we must remember that these initiatives are to ensure your soft landing but, most importantly, to alleviate and root out poverty in every corner of our country try. It is upon us to make the change we want to see.”
“We at Support Formation would like to say thank you to your families for sharing you with us. It was through them that you were able to remain level-headed and to look forward to coming to work.”
The speeches were ended by the General Officer Commanding the SA Army Support Formation, who also handed over gifts to all the members leaving the Formation.
Brigadier General H. J. Stroebel ended off the night with a vote of thanks on behalf of all the members that were being honoured that night. He also said his goodbyes and expressed his gratefulness for the support the Formation gave him during his time as the Formation Chief of Staff.
He ended off by bidding farewell to the members leaving the system and encouraged them to use the talent and expertise that they used to serve the Defence Force at home for their personal gain and remain strong and healthy while enjoying their retirement.
The night was on fire as the National Ceremonial Guard entertainment band kept everyone dancing under the command of Major N. Nkomo.