Kenya Air Force Marks 60th Anniversary with Honours to Ruto, Mama Rachel and Gen Ogolla

President William Ruto presents a ceremonial miniature sword, awarded posthumously to the late Gen Francis Ogolla, to his son, Joel Ogolla.

The Kenya Air Force (KAF) is marking its 60th anniversary on Saturday, June 8, celebrating six decades of dedicated service since its establishment.

The ceremony saw distinguished awards presented to prominent figures including President William Ruto, First Lady Rachel Ruto, and the late Chief of Defence Forces, General Francis Ogolla.

President Ruto was honoured with a mounted eagle statue, symbolising his vision, courage, strength, determination, and grace. The Kenya Air Force commended him, stating, “These aspects we draw from your strategic leadership and support.”

General Ogolla, who tragically perished in a plane crash on April 18, 2024, was posthumously celebrated with a miniature sword, honouring his service. The miniature sword is awarded to officers who have had distinguished service in the military.

Joining the Kenya Air Force on May 2, 1984, Ogolla was commissioned a year later and rose through the ranks, serving as Vice Chief of Defence Forces before his appointment as Chief of Defence Forces in 2023.

His award was received by Joel Ogolla on behalf of the family.

President William Ruto with the Commander of the Kenya Air Force, Maj Gen Fatuma Gaiti Ahmed at Moi Air Base, Nairobi.

Another notable award recipient was Major General (Retired) Dedan Gichuru, the first Kenyan commander of the Kenya Air Force. He was awarded a miniature sword, for his visionary leadership.

Gichuru, who joined the air force in 1964, was promoted in 1984 and retired in 1989. He is celebrated not only for being the first indigenous commander but also for his unique achievement of being appointed commander of the Kenya Air Force twice.

While First Lady Rachel Ruto was not present at the ceremony, her award is set to be presented to her at State House.

Founded on June 1, 1964, the Kenya Air Force was established with a mission to defend and maintain the sovereignty of Kenya’s airspace.

This mission has been steadfastly upheld for six decades, with KAF playing a crucial role in safeguarding Kenya’s territorial integrity. Its formation coincided with Kenya’s first Madaraka Day anniversary, marking a significant moment in the nation's history.

Over the years, KAF has expanded its responsibilities beyond defence logistics to include vital humanitarian efforts and fostering regional cooperation. Its network of bases and forward operating bases across the country underscores its commitment to the nation’s security and welfare.

This milestone celebration not only honours the past achievements of KAF but also sets a tone of continued excellence and service to the nation. 

The celebrations were characterised by an air show and a mock tactical save of prisoners of war.

President William Ruto and late CDF Francis Ogolla.
President William Ruto and late CDF Francis Ogolla.
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