By Olando Testimony ZeongarLiberia’s award-winning female soldier, a Staff Sergeant in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Hawa B. Sumo, has lauded the country’s lone female- focused and women’s issue-oriented newspaper, Women Voices, for highlighting her achievements.

Staff Sergeant Hawa is Liberia’s peacekeeping record-breaking first female military officer, the first female to ever drive for a Chief of Staff of the Liberian military, and the foremost woman driver to ever serve a minister of Liberia’s Ministry of National Defense.

The female military officer, via her Facebook Messenger App, on Wednesday, having been let in on the news that Women Voices had published her achievements, wrote back to congratulate the paper.

She expressed gratitude to the paper for the article and wrote that she was glad to share her achievements with the women of Liberia, whom she also expressed appreciation, for their support and strides being made toward immensely contributing to Liberia’s up-liftment

“Oh wow that’s great – thanks so much; I appreciate the Women Voices newspaper and the women of Liberia,” Sergeant Hawa wrote, as a reply to Madam Helen Nah-Sammie, Publisher of the Women Voices newspaper, when the latter reached out to the former to inform her about the paper’s Wednesday’s publication, which featured the award-winning senior female military officer.

An ardent advocate for women’s rights and a passionate crusader for the betterment of the livelihood of all females regardless of status, Madam Nah-Sammie, congratulated Sergeant, for making the country and Liberian women pride.

The Women Voices Publisher, indicated: “As you can see, the Women Voices newspaper is promoting your passionate job. Thanks for representing Liberian women. We are proud of you.”

Women Voices newspaper quoting military authorities in Monrovia, Liberia, reported Wednesday that Staff Sergeant Hawa, who returned to the country in March, as part of Liberia’s peacekeeping mission’s sixth contingent to Mali (LIBBATT-6) on a United Nations peacekeeping mission, came out in flying colors as the first female Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) driver in the desert.

An APC is a broad type of armoured, military vehicle designed to transport personnel and equipment in combat zones. They are sometimes referred to colloquially as “battle taxis” or “battle buses.”

According to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, an APC is defined as “an armoured combat vehicle which is designed and equipped to transport a combat infantry squad and which, as a rule, is armed with an integral or organic weapon of less than 20 millimetres calibre.”

Hawa was among several Liberian peacekeepers that returned to the country in March, as part of Liberia’s contingent, LIBBATT-6, in MINUSMA, and were decorated on Friday,19 March 2021, during a colorful event at Camp Sandee Ware, for their services.

LIBBATT-6 is the 6th Liberian contingent which took part in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The gallant men and women of the Liberian military returned home on the 8 March, and were placed on Post Deployment Training for two weeks in Camp Sandee Ware.

The training was geared toward destressing the soldiers following their return from the peacekeeping mission before being reunited with their families and the society. It was also intended to psychologically prepare the soldiers to return to normal mental activities.

At the close of their stay at Camp Sandee Ware, the soldiers including Sergeant Hawa, were decorated and congratulated for their services to Liberia and the people of Mali, with Army Chief of Staff, Brigidier General Prince C. Johnson saying at the time that he was grateful to members of LIBBATT-6 for their accomplishments, even though he, he was aware of their challenges while on the international peacekeeping mission.

Chief of Staff Johnson: “This is the first time that Campaign Medals are given to Liberian Contingent returning from mission; however, this will continue as Liberian Contingent returns upon completion of their Peacekeeping Mission. The Campaign Medals are given to soldiers who take part in military mission.”

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