25 June 2015
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Kenneth Minimah has charged Nigerian Army student pilots to be ready to work and live with troops wherever operational exigency demands without any thought of leaving their chosen line of flying combat helicopters.
According to a statement, the COAS gave the charge while addressing student pilots undergoing helicopter flying training at the International Helicopter Flying School, Enugu.
In his words “You should all be ready to at all times live and work with troops wherever operational exigency demands.You should also banish all thoughts of leaving your chosen line of flying combat helicopters. The Nigerian Army will not train you and afterwards allow you to branch out to other arms or services on flimsy excuses.”
Speaking during his assessment visit to the 10 Nigerian Army student officers at the School, the COAS stated that he was pleased to hear that the students were doing well and encouraged them to put in their utmost best in all written and practical aspects of the course to ensure their graduation. He informed the students that they will form the nucleus of the newly established Nigerian Army Aviation Wing.
The COAS further revealed that the Nigerian Army established its Aviation Wing to complement the Nigerian Air Force based on the experiences gathered fighting terrorists in the North Eastern region where gaps in air support leading to reverses brought to fore the need for combat helicopters to provide intimate support to troops.This means apart from support from the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Army will have its own air support element that will always be with the ground troops and readily provide air support whenever required.
The COAS informed the students that the Army will ensure their accommodation, hangar and all necessary facilities are put in place before their graduation. He also expressed the resolve of the Nigerian Army in ensuring that the Service gets the issue of establishing the Army Aviation Wing right as opposed to several
failed attempts in the past.
The COAS was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding
82 Division Major General Shehu Yusuf and the Chief of Staff to the COAS Brigadier General Solomon Udounwa. He was received by the Air Secretary Air Vice Marshal CN Chukwu, the Commander 305 Helicopter Group, Air Commodore I Yahaya and the Rector, International Helicopter Flying School, Group Captain Ayo