The retirement of Brigadier General Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu, the Chief of the Defence Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) was marked with a Farewell Military Parade at the Taliai Military Camp on Thursday morning, 18 December.
Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, a Colonel, is the new Chief of the Defence Staff of the His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF).
The Brigadier General had served 41 years with the defence services, and was the longest serving officer. He was made the Commander of the TDS on March 2000.
The Tonga Defence Services became His Majesty’s Armed Forces at the end of 2013, and Brigadier General Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu became its first Chief of the Defence Staff.
During the past 14 years he was in charge of Tonga’s defence services, at the times of the national strike in 2005, the Nuku’alofa riots in 2006, Tonga’s involvement in the war against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Tonga’s involvement in the Pacific Regional Peace Keeping Operation in the Solomon Islands.
On his retirement from HMAF, Brigadier General Tau’aika ‘Uta’atu will become Tonga’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, a position he will take up in February 2015.
The guests of honor at the Favewell Military Parade were Princess Pilolevu Tuita and Lord Tuita.
The Military Parade was also attended by military personnal from throughout the region including LT General Timothy Keating – NZ Chief of Defence Force; Rear Admiral Mark Campbell, Head of Navy Capability, Australian Armed forces; Brigadier Luc Perron de Revel, Commander of French Armed Forces New Caledonia; Brigadier General Wiliam R. Burks, Adjutant General Nevada National Guard, USA; Colonel Dominic Bulungol, from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, and LtCol Timothy Woodman, the British Defence Attache to Tonga.