The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Frank Hanson on behalf of the Ghana Air Force has honoured Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) Andy Mensah (Rtd) as a distinguished retired officer whose legacy still lives on. A commemorative plaque, which was mounted at the forecourt of the Air Force Headquarters in Burma Camp and unveiled by the Wg Cdr Mensah (Rtd) himself on Thursday 19 January 2023, was to acknowledge the enduring legacy of the distinguished retired officer and serve as a testament to those in active service to be diligent, selfless and committed to their respective assignments.
As part of his contribution to the development of the Ghana Air Force, Wg Cdr Mensah (Rtd), who was a Qualified Flying Instructor, tutored the late former President, Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, former Chiefs of Air Staff Air Marshal Samson-Oje, AVM Nagai and Squadron Leader Ebo-Bartels.
As a No l Squadron Operational Pilot, he flew single engine aircraft with co-pilots at odd hours in challenging weather conditions on Medical Evacuations to recover patients from remote areas. He landed and took off on the perilous short airstrips of Nandom, Yendi, Wa and Navrongo in the Northern Regions and Ho in the Volta Region, with virtually no navigation aids and minimum air traffic communication.
Wg Cdr Mensah (Rtd) also undertook some developmental projects in the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF). This included the remodelling of the entire aircraft parking areas and environs at the Accra Air Force Base, training of GAF Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers for various commercial licenses in conformity with International Civil Aviation standards and procedures amongst others.
He was also a member of the first Ghana Air Force overseas operational detachment of 6 pilots and 2 Air Traffic Officers to be deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to help stabilise Eastern Katangese Province ruled by General Mobutu Sese Seko, establishing and fully equipping the Air Force Base Computer Centre and remodelling and equipping the Emergency Unit of the 37 Military Hospital. He also assisted GAF in the reconfiguration of the GAF Fokker 27 aircraft to be ICAO complaint.
On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, AVM Frank Hanson stated that the unveiling of the plaque at the historical monument was initiated to honour Officers and Airmen who have distinguished themselves in their service to the Air Force, God and Country. He added that, the selfless and meritorious service by these distinguished personalities cannot be overlooked and consequently there was a need to honour them whilst they were alive.
"This historical monument has provisions for former Presidents of the Republic of Ghana, former Chiefs of Defence Staff from the Air Force, former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshals who held tri-service appointments, the first Chief of Air Staff, Master Air Warrant Officers, fallen heroes and special recognitions" AVM Hanson disclosed.
Wg Cdr Mensah (Rtd) in expressing his gratitude to the Ghana Air Force, he admonished Officers, Airmen Women and Defence Civilian Staff of the Ghana Air Force to pursue excellence in their professional careers as well as the execution of their mandate of protecting the territorial borders of the country. To achieve this, he urged all to exhibit a high sense of integrity and loyalty, competence, self-discipline, and the tenacity to say yes or no in accordance with their judgment without fear or intimidation.
Albeit he enjoined everyone to employ a cocktail of humility and humour in their line of duty, he cautioned everyone to bear in mind that posterity will be the judge of their actions.
Wg Cdr Andy Mensah (Rtd), in relying on the famous maxim that a nation that does not honour its heroes and heroines is not worth living for, was hopeful the inventiveness would transcend the Ghana Air Force to the other services and society as a whole.
Some dignitaries present at the occasion were the former Chief Justice, Her Lordship Sophia Akuffo, former Agric Minister, Hon. Afriyie Akoto and former Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Air Marshal Samson-Oje.