Colonel Vagi Oala of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force believes Papua New Guineans have great potential.
This belief has spurred him throughout his career in the Defence Force and saw him recently achieve the highest marks and competency in the Defence and Strategic Studies Course at the Australian Defence College in Canberra.
The course is a promotional course to prepare senior Defence officers for promotion to the rank of general, and consisted of strategic command, leadership and management; Asia - Pacific security matters; the global and regional strategic setting of the past, present and future; and a general strategic outlook for the future.
The course specifically designed for senior Defence officers from Australia and the Asia - Pacific region, including USA, aimed to promote friendship, networking and a common understanding of strategic security issues among senior Defence officers in the region.
At the course graduation on December 7 last year Colonel Oala was awarded the Field Marshall Thomas Blamey Memorial Award for Excellence in Higher Command Studies for the Defence and Strategic Course 2005.
The Award was the most prestigious of all the course prizes, and it was the first time for a PNGDF Officer to be awarded the prize.
Colonel Oala was among 50 senior officers from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the USA at the course.
Colonel Oalas achievement is outstanding and historic for Papua New Guinea, as he rose above 50 Senior Officers from throughout the Asia - Pacific Region including the USA, to attain the highest award.
Colonel Oala and his family returned to PNG last month where he resumed his posting at the PNGDF headquarters at Murray Barracks.
When asked about his achievement, Colonel Oala said Papua New Guineans have great potential, and I thank God for the results I was able to achieve, and I thank God for our great country Papua New Guinea.