On Thursday, 19th January 2023, Wg Cdr Andy Mensah (Rtd) attended a ceremony of honor from Ghana led by Chief of Air Staff Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Frank Hanson at Air Force Headquarters, Burma Camp. Air Force for their service to God and country.
His name is engraved in gold on a memorial at Air Force HQ Burma Camp.
Former Chief Justice Her Ladyship Justice Sophia Akufo, former CDS Air-Marshal Michael Samson-Oje, Generals/Marshals and senior officers of the Ghana Armed Forces, members of the Ghana Military Academy Intech 7, welcomed the guests who were classmates of Wg Cdr Mensah at Mfantipim. School, Mfantsipim Old Boys Association (MOBA) 1961, AVM Hanson described Wg Cdr Andy Mensah as an outstanding officer.
He commended Wg Cdr Andy Mensah and thanked Mrs Marian Mensah for her excellent support to her husband. Apart from the citation to immortalize him, Wg Cdr Mensah was presented with a miniature citation to grace his hall. AVM also quoted from a previous article where I said;
“In my recent article “give me my flowers when I smell them” I appealed to Ghanaians to appreciate them, know their appreciation for them because of their contribution to life locally, nationally or internationally. I added, until they sleep soundly in their “chop-box”. Let’s not wait, my son calls his grandfather’s casket, before heaping eulogies on him.I conclude the article with the following quote.
Has Ghana honored our deserving heroes?
In September 2001, Zimbabwe’s Center for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA) honored the first African United Nations Force Commander, General EA Erskine of Ghana by naming it the “General Erskine Research and Documentation Centre” (GERDC). Death in 2021, hopefully a memorial will be named after him posthumously.
However, Ghana’s second UN Force Commander and former Defense Staff (CDS) General Seth Obeng has an opportunity to wait to be honored while he is still alive.
While there are certainly others, I have restricted myself to the organization I know best, the military.
As Bob Cole said, the multitude of platitudes thrown during Thanksgiving services mean nothing to the dead because they are in the “chop-box” as the little boy calls his grandfather’s casket!
While they are alive, let us recognize, praise and honor deserving individuals for their contributions to Ghana/humanity and encourage the younger generation to make sacrifices.
“Give me my flowers while I still smell them.”
So, who is Wg Cdr Andy Mensah (Rtd)?
Wg Cdr Andy Mensah
A product of Mfantsipim School (MOBA 1961), he joined the Ghana Armed Forces in 1963 as an officer cadet. He was commissioned into the Ghana Air Force in 1965 and won the Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah Award for the best trainee pilot in commission. As Second Lieutenant.
In 1967, he was one of six pilots sent by Ghana to Zaire, now DR Congo (DRC), to help stabilize the political situation.
A Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) in 1976 as then Major Mensah headed the Flight Training School, Takoradi, which trains pilots for the Ghana Air Force. At that time, the Air Force used the Army range until it was changed in 1978. No wonder, with his mentors like Capt. Awuku, Capt. Monte, Capt. Kwaison etc., he produced former Chiefs of Air Force (CAS) like Air Marshal Samson-Oje, AVM. Nagai, Gp Capt Forjo and Sqn Ldr Ebo-Bartels.
Wg Cdr Mensah was one of the first Ghanaian officers to graduate from the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji-Kaduna in the early 1980s after an outstanding performance.
He retired honorably from the Ghana Armed Forces in 1983.
He will serve as the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for the next six years. Subsequently, he worked as the Director-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquartered in Dakar, Senegal.
In all appointments, he excelled as a leader with an unmatched sense of humor in de-escalating difficult situations! The subordinates were very comfortable under his leadership and hence gave their best.
At Wg Cdr Andy Mensah’s 80th birthday party on 1 October 2022, AVM Hanson promised to honor Wg Cdr Mensah (Rtd). As per his words, AVM presided over a function to honor him on 19th January 2023 at Air Force Headquarters. In the words of Wg Cdr Andy Mensah to the AVM,
“Sir, through this incident you have demonstrated your integrity as an officer to live up to your word.”
To quote Abraham Lincoln’s famous words,
“A nation that does not honor its heroes will not last long,” said Wg Cdr Mensah, stressing the importance of speaking truth to power without being fair and firm, disciplined and rude. Recognition of merit is important for organizational development. He also paid tribute to former Air Staff, Air Sidire KK Pampuni (retd), whom he called “my mentor”. She congratulated Her Ladyship Chief Justice Sophia Akufo who chaired the board when she was DG of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
Notably, WG CDR Mensah, as I have stated in previous writings as follows, believes that other services, Army and Navy will do the same;
“Charity, it is said, begins at home! Air Force sets the pace! Knowing the Navy, they are coming slowly and steadily, but surely.
I think the Army is already warming up to give the first African UN Force Commander, General Erskine, a posthumous recognition soon, and our second Force Commander of UNIFIL, General Seth Obeng, is alive.
Again, Ghanaians in positions of power, please don’t leave accreditation to institutions alone! Our heroes should be recognized at the national level. That way, “Is Ghana worth dying for?” When asked the question, the answer can be easily given!
“Give me the flowers while I still smell them!” Remember the saying.
Wake up fellow Ghanaians!
Brig General Dan Frimpong (RTD)
Former CEO, Association of African Peace Support Trainers
President of the Council
University College of Family Health
Source: Brig General Dan Frimpong (Rtd), former CEO, Association of African Peace Support Trainers, Nairobi, Kenya
|Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for the accuracy of their content. Please report any inappropriate content to us and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.