HISTORY OF SOUTHERN COMMAND
The origins of HQ 1 Inf Bde Gp started in the Congo in June 1961 when HQ 2 Ghana Inf Bde Gp, Luluabourg was designated HQ 1 Inf Bde Gp till August 1961 under the command Col JA Ankrah. On repatriation from the Congo in early August 1961, the HQ was temporarily located at the Rangoon Camp until 6 August when it moved to Kumasi. It was partially under implemented at about this time when personnel from the HQ were posted to Army HQ.
The Bde HQ was provisionally re-formed at Burma Camp on 23 September 1961 under Brig JA Ankrah (23 September 1961 – 1 October 1962) even though others hold the view that its Commander was Brig C M Barwah. In reality , it was annexed to Army HQ in January 1962 for lack of staff and was only re-formed 01 October 1962 under Brig CM Barwah (1 October 1962 – 9 August 1965).
The initial Units were 1 Inf BN, Ranchi Barracks, Takoradi (but later moved to Myohaung Barracks in 1963) 2 Inf BN Arakan Barracks , Accra, and 6 Inf BN, Ranchi Barracks, Takoradi on formation in 1966, Armed Recce Regt Gondar Barracks, Burma Camp Accra and Field Engr Regt, Wajir Barracks, Teshie.
The Bde HQ was first located in married quarters- G16 Burma Camp which it shared with the office of GSO II Intelligence at the present location of Army HQ. It moved from Burma Camp first to the flagstaff house Annex, near the Accra Zoo and finally to its present location at the Kpeshie Ridge in 1968. The Kpeshie Ridge complex was originally projected for occupation by the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (WAC) HQ.
As part of modernization and an increase in the capacity and responsibilities of the Armed Forces as a whole, the brigade was given a Divisional status on 29 Mar 2000.The structures have however, largely remained the same except that, the designation of the commander changed to General Officer Commanding (GOC). The Command has the responsibility of ensuring the security of Southern Ghana stretching northwards from the Atlantic coastline and covering five out of ten administrative regions of Ghana. These are Volta, Eastern, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions.
The Command has had twenty two Commanders so far who have variously had and continue to have positive influences on both the history of the nation and Ghana Army in particular. Prominent among these are Brig JA Ankrah, Brig Odartey-Wellington, Col IK Acheampong, Col AA Afrifa, Col REA Kotei, Brig FA Agyemfra, Col JH Smith and Maj Gen FY Mahama who happened to be the last Brigade Commander and the first GOC. The current GOC is Brig Gen Musa Whajah. Col IK Acheampong staged a bloodless coup to topple the democratically elected government of the People Front Party (PFP) led by professor KA Bussia Jan 1972 when he was in command. The HQ has had one Brigade Sergeant Major and Eleven Command sergeant Majors. The current Command sergeant Major is SWO Amponsah George.
Current Units under Command are 1Inf BN, Michel Camp, Tema; 2 Inf BN, Myohaung Barracks, Takoradi; 5 Inf BN, Arakan Barracks, Burma Camp; 64 Infantry Regt-Gondar Barracks, Burma Camp; 48 Engr Regt, Wajir Barracks, Teshie and 1 Field Workshop-Medo lines. It is pertinent to note that the Command has only administrative control of Armd Recce Regt, 66 Arty Regt and 48 Engr Regt. Operationally, these support arms regiment comes under the direct control of Army HQ.
For a Motto the Command has “Kullum Shirri” Hausa version of “Ever Ready” and for a slogan it has:
Kullum Shirri – Ready, Able and Willing!
Kullum Shirri – Fight to Win!
Kullum Shirri – Shield the Nation!
The emblem is a Black Spider (head down) against a yellow background. This was adopted from the emblem of the 81 (WA) Div. “Ananse” (Gizzo) is the traditional Spider Hero of Gold Coast folklore, its outstanding quality being its subtlety and agility of mind. By using its wits, it always out- maneuvers its enemies and achieves many. Impossible feats such as capturing a live bee hive, a leopard and a python. A second version has it that during the Second World War the tarantula was one of the commonest insects in the jungle in which troops of the 81 WA division operated. Its poisonous bites helped them to overcome the Japanese who could not stand the bites. The flag of the Command has RED, GREEN and PINK rectangular stripes with the traditional spider on a yellow background in the middle.
Having been formed in an operational theatre – OP FULL COCK – in the Democratic Republic of Congo in July 1960, the units under the Command have distinguished themselves in both External and Internal Peacekeeping operations under the banner of Ghana Army. Internally, the Command on several occasions tasked units to provide relief to several communities during periods of flood and other emergency situations. Other units within the Command have also been participating in national development programs such as road and bridge construction, anti-cocoa and petrol smuggling along the nation’s borders, reforestation and other environmental improvement programs.
The vision of the current GOC for the Command is as follows: “To maintain a highly motivated and positively responsive force, well disciplined and trained, able and willing to project a credible deterrent posture; a force jointly or singly committed to the Defense of the constitution of Ghana, ever prepared to participate in national development and emergency programs within the domestic environment and a force which remains a dependable part of the Army combat machine, well poised for distinguished service anytime anywhere.”