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KDF rescues 98-yr-old ex-soldier, the 1st Kenyan to head a military unit

Lt Col (Rtd) Barno was also the commander of the first parade marking Kenya as a Republic.

 KDF officers visited Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joshua Korigo Barno, the 1st Kenyan to head a military unit

In a heartwarming display of appreciation for one of its veterans, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) recently extended medical assistance to one of its former commanders.

Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Joshua Korigo Barno was the first Kenyan Commanding Officer to head a military unit after Kenya gained independence.

Earlier in 2023, he was taken ill at his Kapsabet home, Nandi county.

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His family reached out to the Department of Defence Headquarters to assist the ex-soldier who needed urgent medical attention.

The 98-year-old ex-soldier, who had served with distinction in his prime years, was received by Brigadier (Dr) Justino Mutisya, Senior Medical Officer at the facility where he underwent a series of tests to ascertain his ailment.

The medical team at Eldoret Regional Hospital subsequently admitted him for treatment and close monitoring, and reports indicate that he is responding well to treatment.

Lt Col (Rtd) Barno was enlisted into the then King’s African Rifles in 1948 as a cadet and commissioned as a junior officer.

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He rose through the ranks to head a military unit and was appointed as the first Commanding Officer of the Nanyuki-based 1 battalion, the Kenya Rifles, during the first Jamhuri Day on 12 December 1964.

On this historic day, Lt Col (Rtd) Barno was also the parade commander of the first parade marking Kenya as a Republic.

Under his leadership, 1 KR received and trooped its Regimental and Presidential Colours, making it the first fully-fledged military establishment.

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Lt Col (Rtd) Barno headed the unit until 1966 when he was appointed as the Commander of Kahawa Garrison, where he served until his retirement in 1967, ending his 19 years of a military career.

The KDF said it remains committed to taking care of its veterans who served their motherland with dedication, valour, and patriotism.

The leadership and the entire military fraternity also wished Lt Col (Rtd) Joshua Korigo Barno a speedy recovery.

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The Military Veterans Bill 2022 establishes a regulatory and institutional framework for the management of military veterans’ affairs.

The new law also establishes the advisory committee on military veterans that will advise and make recommendations to the Defence Council, Cabinet Secretary or Director of Military Veterans on any matter relating to the military veterans or their dependants.

The Defense Council was granted the authority by the Act to create a policy for military veterans and to examine recommendations presented by the Cabinet Secretary, Chief of Defense Forces, or Director of Military Veterans on matters related to funding and budgeting for veterans' affairs.

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