HISTORY OF 5 INFANTRY BATTALION

5bnThe 5th Infantry Battalion has its origin from 5 West African Bde grouping (5 Gold Coast Regiment, 7 Gold Coast Regiment and 8 Gold Coast Regiment) during the Burma Campaign in 1941. In Nov 1942 it came under 81 West African Div. The Unit just before the Burma Campaign concentrated in Nigeria in April 1943 and moved to Burma where it fought in the campaign from July 1943 till February 1944.   It returned to the Gold Coast in September – October 1945, and was disbanded in July 1946, alongside the other Battalions after the 2nd World War.

POST-INDEPENDENCE HISTORY

The Unit was re-formed after Independence at Tamale in Kamina Barracks on 30th January 1961 under a Bristish Commanding Officer, Lt Col DJ Cairns who commanded the Unit from January – July 1961.

The Unit which comprised of elements from 3 Bn Coy that had refrained from taking part in the Congo mutiny and another Coy from 4 Bn.

ORGANISATION

The Unit initially consisted of a Bn HQ, Four Rifle Coys and a Support Coy. The established strengths of personnel and equipment could not be attained until 1964.

MOVEMENT OF UNIT

In 1963, the Unit moved from Kamina Barracks and then to Accra (Arakan) in 1968, under the Command of Maj LK Kwaku. The four-rifled Coys organization was maintained during the NRC/SMC regimes (Jan1972 – 1979) until the latter part of 1980 when it reverted to the status of a three-rifle company Battalion, to conform with the other Battalions whose extra coys were dissolved in December 1970.

CONTEMPORARY EXTERNAL OPERATIONS

The Unit contributed troops for a number of International Peace-keeping Operations which included the following:

  1. ONUC (Congo 1960 – 64 ) The Unit relieved 3 Bn from January – August 1962.
  2. UNEF (Sinai, Egypt 1973 – 79) The Unit had its turn as Ghanbatt 6 underthe Command of Lt Col F Oteng from December 1976 – April 1977.
  3. UNIFIL (Southern Lebanon) tours are as fols:
    • Ghanbatt 13 under the Command of Lt Col Asare-Djan (April – November 1980).
    • Ghanbatt 32 under the Command of Lt Col FY Mahama from June1989 – February 1990.
    • Ghanbatt 38 under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei from September 1992 – May 1993.
    • Ghanbatt 42 under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei (March –September 1995).
    • Ghanbatt 50 (Golden Ghanbatt) was under the Command of Lt Col Okai (March – September 1999).
    • Ghanbatt 62 with the Command of Lt Col JBE Guyiri (Sept 2005 –March 2006).
  4. ECOMOG – LIBERIA The Unit had its share in the Operation as fol:
    • Ghanbatt 5 under the Command of Lt Col DCK Kattah from Feb – Aug 92.
    •  Ghanbatt 9 was under the Command of Lt Col SA Odotei  from March 1994 – 1995.
  5. UNAMSIL – SIERRA LEONE The Unit operated in Sierra Leone under the Command of Lt Col JBE Guyiri from Nov 02 – Apr 03.
  6. The 5th Infantry Battalion also contributed troops towards Peace Keeping duties in UNAMIR – Rwanda, UNTAC – Cambodia and UNAMSIL – Sierra Leone.
  7. Operation Gongong, an Internal Peace Enforcement initiative which was initiated in 1993 to clamp down on tribal conflicts in the Northern Region found troops from 5 Bn in action.   2/Lt Agbanyo who was barely six months in the service after commission as well as Cpl Felix Ayisi who lost their lives, were the notable casualties suffered by the Unit in the operation.

The Unit participated in all Field Exercises conducted in the Army over the period and performed quite creditably.   These included Exercises HOT FOOT, TIGER’S PATH, FIRE BLAST, TEAM WORK, WAR LORD, STAR LIGHT STRETCH, WOUNDED LEOPARD, AS YOU ARE, BOLD KING AND PINK HEAD. EX PINK HEAD is a traditional demonstration exercise conducted twice in each year to depict the exact layout of a Bn HQ in the field for students of GAFSCS Jnr Div and ACTS (Combat Team Commanders Courses).

TRADITIONAL ROLES

Fifth Battalion of Infantry as part of the Ghana Armed Forces has been and is still responsible for ensuring absolute protection of Ghana’s territorial integrity. The Unit has the specific responsibility of ensuring the internal security of the Greater Accra Region, with the capital city Accra inclusive; by assisting the civil authorities to maintain law and order.   The Unit also provides assistance during periods of natural disaster in the Region.   Instances of Unit involvement in maintaining security in the region include:

  • Protection and defense of vital Government installations during the 1995 Kume-Preko riots.
  • In 1995, 5 Bn, in conjunction with other units in Accra, assisted to evacuate flood victims from certain residential areas affected by floods.
  • In 1997, 5 Bn conducted joint patrols with the Civil Police to rid Accra of criminals in an operation code named CALM LIFE.   Similar operations were conducted in the 1980s and still in force currently.
  • In 1998, 5 Bn conducted patrols to rid the Region of Chain Sawn Lumber in an effort to safeguard the environment in an operation codenamed HALT and still in force.

The Unit continues to ensure security of certain vital installations in Accra.

These are Operation Citadel (Castle Guard) Operation Mercury (Broadcasting House Guard) and Operation Response (Defence of the Eastern Border of Ghana).

CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

The Unit has established a trial of customs and traditions over the years which are still adhered to:

Magajia : The Magajia is the leading figure of the soldiers’ wives.   She is responsible for organizing, controlling and ensuring passage and enforcement of unit directives among the women.   The Battalion Magajia is assisted by Company Magajias.   The magajia is the disciplined wife of a disciplined, loyal, hardworking and industrious Corporal.

Bugle Calls. The Unit still maintains the bugle calls as of old. Prominent among them are the Reveille, Last Post, General Call, RSM Call, etc.

The 5 Bn of Infantry has cherished and maintained military traditions to include the under listed among many others:

  • Guard and Piquet Mounting.
  • Quarter Guard Inspection by Commanding Officers.
  • Muster Parades.
  • Padre Hours.
  • Orders and Interviews.

TROOPS AND DEPENDANTS EDUCATION IN 5BN

Education is the key to success, and knowledge it is said to be power. 5 Bn was not left out in this adage.   The education of troops and dependants in the Ghana Armed Forces had been the sole responsibility of GHQ (EDN) but this trend had undergone a great transformation since the advent of the 31st December Revolution.

Previously, troops who were illiterate were taught Oral English and some basic rules in Arithmetic. Those, with formal education, had to go through a series of courses to attain the Armed Forces Certificate of Education (AFCE) Stages II and III.   These courses were instituted in the early stages of the Revolution and had remained so, since promotion depended, to a large extent, on a soldier’s success in the prescribed courses.

Presently, troops who passed out from the training center are given continuous training in Mathematics, English, Current Affairs, Map Reading WT, SD, Unit Customs and Traditions, etc. Some form of in-service training is also organised for selected troops prior to courses at the training institutions.   Currently, 5 Bn has two Nursery Schools, which feed the Arakan, and 5 BN Basic Schools.

TROOPS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Entertainment plays an important role in the life of a soldier, and it is therefore

taken care of in the Ghana Armed Forces.   Entertainment settles down the mind and refreshes the soldier after hard work.

It is in this vein that 5 Bn has the Pink Fives Band and the Unit Corps Drums to

raise the morale of the troops after a hard day’s work.

PINK FIVES Band was formed in 1971 made up of 12 bandsmen, under the

leadership of S/Sgt Animful.  The band had the opportunity to operate in Egypt (UNEF) in 1976, Lebanon (UNIFIL) Ghanbatt 50 in 1999.   The band provides entertainment during WASSA and other social functions.

The Unit Corps of Drums is the Defence platoon of the Battalion when on operation.

The corps during peace time provides marshall music on parades and funerals.

Some leaders of the Band are:

  • Sgt Barry Doe, who is now on political appt.
  • WOI Kenneth Gbekle 1984-1991.
  • Late Sgt Joseph Hammond 1991 – 1996.
  • WOII Noye Edison 1996 – 2001 (Deceased).
  • S/Sgt Mohammed.
  • WOI Kenneth Gbekle was the Band WO from Sep 1995 – Jan 2003.
  • WOI Kenneth Gbekle also led the Unit Dance Band from 1983 – 1990.

TROOPS CONTRIBUTION TO SPORTS

Sports plays an important role in the life of a soldier. It makes one fit and creates amusement.   Sports is a tool to boost up the morale of the troop.   Every Wednesday at 1530 hrs, 5 Bn organizes recreational training for the troops, and this is highly patronized by all ranks.   Some pers have excelled in the various discipline.   They are as follows:

  • WOI Jones Tita                  –       Football – Akotex FC/Accra Hearts of Oak.
  • S/Sgt Danquah D               –        National X’country.
  • S/Sgt Nifah R                      –        X’country – National Team.
  • WOI Nana banyin Naizel  –        Football – Accra Hearts of Oak and Eleven Wise.

BATTLE HONOUR

The Unit was honoured in the following battles:

  • Ashanti                                              –        1873 – 1874.
  • Ashanti                                              –        1900.
  • West African Medal and Clasp     –        1903.
  • Kamina                                              –        1914.
  • Duala, Cameroons                           –        1914 – 1916.
  • Naragumber                                     –        1916 – 1918.
  • East Africa                                        –        1916 – 1918.

Wal Garis, ElWak Juba Bulo Brillo, Gelib, Alexandra, Wadarra Abyssinia 1940 – 41.

North Arakan, Kaladan, Tinma, Mayu Valley Myohaung Arakan Beaches Kangaw, Taungup and Burma 1943 – 45.

COLOUR

The Unit was first presented with National and Regimental Colours at Kamina barracks in Tamale, in 1968 by Lt Gen JA Ankrah the C-in-C.

 EMBLEM/MASCOT

The emblem of the Unit is the Head of a Lion, King of the Jungle. A mythical Lion Christened Sgt Nii Tackie Tawia I was adopted as the Unit mascot since 23 Jul 1997.   The effigy of the lion connotes the powerful watchdog role of the unit, particularly over Accra, the seat of the Government of Ghana and generally over the rich heritage of the country.

The Unit slogan is a “cry’ to reverberate the level of morale of troops. The principal

call phrase is ‘MIGHTY FIVE’ with the response as below:

 KRIKRI                     –      Hey (2x)

 FIVE                           –      Lion

 FIVE                           –      Lion Hearted

 MIGHTY FIVE         –       we are dependable.

A fraternity identification slogan recently evolved goes like this; MIGHTY FIVE

LION HEARTED.   The Unit identification colour is Pink, which signifies LOVE.

 

5 BN PLEDGE

MIGHTY FIVE      –        WE ARE DEPENDABLE

FIVE                        –        LION HEARTED

I AM A DEPENDABLE SOLDIER OF 5 BN.

DISCIPLINE IS MY BEDROCK AND LOYALTY MY WATCH WORD.

I AM DUTY CONSCIOUS AND EVER READDY TO SERVE DAY AND NIGHT.

I FEAR NO FOE, FOR I AM LION HEARTED.

RELY ON ME FOR I AM A DEPENDABLE SOLDIER OF THE MIGHTY FIVE.

5 BN ANTHEM

TO THE COMMAND OF OUR SUPERIORS

DO WE RESPOND WITH THE BATTLE CRY

TO DEFEND AND PROTECT OUR COUNTRY

IN PEACE DO WE PERFORM OUR DUTY

TO GOD THE GLORY BE

THAT WE GO IN PEACE AND IN ONE PIECE WE COME

WILLING AND DETERMINED TO DEFEND OUR CAUSE

IT IS THE WILL OF GOD

LION HEARTED AS WE ARE

FEARLESS AND PROFESSIONALLY TO CALLS RESPOND

HOLDING HIGH THE BANNER OF GHANA ARMY

ALMIGHTY LORD WITHHOLD OUR EFFORT TO DEFEND MOTHER GHANA

(MIGHTY FIVE: LION HEARTED: FOREVER WE SHALL REMAIN) – refrain.

ECONOMIC VENTURES

Operation Demeter, a self-supporting farming concept directive of the Army has been fully embraced and embarked upon by 5 Bn.   Food and cash crops have been cultivated and distributed in the past at Battalion level.   The companies are however still holding on to the venture.   The Unit however is concentrating on animal rearing till date.   A vibrate cattle ranch is maintained.   It is rather unfortunate that the once vibrant piggery of the Unit is no more due to diseases that plagued the pigs, so on the directive of the Ministry of Agriculture all pigs were slaughtered, it is now in the pipeline to raise another piggery.

CONCLUSION

Five Infantry Battalion has established a rich and interesting history which has portions straying into the era of military uprisings and takeover of Governments. The worse of them is better forgotten, however it is worth mentioning that the Unit played a positive role in the revolution that led into the present constitutional rule in Ghana.

The Unit remains the main standby Unit of the Ghana Army; ready to respond to all tasks within hours of notice. Five Battalion could be referred to as the “Fatique” and Ceremonial Unit of the Ghana Armed Forces.   The Unit is always proud of her undertakings since they always offer the opportunity to exhibit the discipline, duty consciousness, dependability as well as level of professionalism of the troops of MIGHTY FIVE.