Lieutenant Colonel Maika Baleinaloto took over command of the Fiji Contingent serving with the Multinational Force and Observers from LTCOL Avinesh Kumar on Tuesday, May 16th 2017.
The incoming Commanding Officer of the Second Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment resumed his leadership role following the handover/takeover parade which was reviewed by the MFO Force Commander, Major General Simon Stuart. In reviewing the handover parade, Maj. Gen. Stuart stated that the occasion marked the history of 2FIR in the Sinai Peninsula. “Today marks another milestone in the history of the 2nd Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment and the long history between the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the MFO. He added that Fijian’s make up one of the largest contingents of the MFO, having served in harsh and challenging environments both in the Northern and Southern area of operations.
The MFO FC told Fijian peacekeeping troops on parade that they were charged with the responsibility to write the next chapter of Fiji’s peacekeeping efforts. “You the men and women standing proudly on parade today represent those whom have written the proud history of your nation, Fiji. And importantly it is you whom will write the next chapter over the coming year and beyond,” he said. He added that they will write the next chapter by their actions.
Maj Gen Stuart stated that he was confident that through his experience and academic achievements, Lt Col Baleinaloto will successfully undertake the Commanding Officer’s role. “Of course, as we stand here today, we know that there is still much work before us. Work that will require continued leadership and I know the LTCOL Baleinaloto is now blessed and charged with that responsibility,” he said. The MFO FC is assertive that LTCOL Kumar’s replacement will lead his men and women with the intelligence, strength and grace of his predecessors.
In concluding his address, MR Stuart expressed his expectation from the Fijian Peacekeepers. “To each and every one of you, the men and women of the Second Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment – leaders are only good as the troops they command. I know you will do your duty well because that is the Fijian way.
LTCOL Baleinaloto hails from Lodoni Village in the Sawakasa district within the Tailevu Province of Fiji. He is the first and the only fellow from his village to be a military officer and now the first officer from his home village to be appointed as a Commanding Officer of a Fijian Battalion serving in a peace keeping mission overseas.