Title/s of honoured guest/s, fellow officers, comrades,
It seems to me that the vital bits of life are sandwiched in between constant bouts of preparation. In between those bouts lie small but essential periods of achievement. Without the bread and butter however those accomplishments could not exist. The military is certainly no exception. We spend a tremendous amount of time devoted to preparing ourselves for possibilities that we often hope will not occur. The law of certainties dictates that the very moment you stop preparing for an eventuality it will almost certainly happen.
To our credit and to my eternal thanks our work here has been challenging and worthwhile. We have had to establish ourselves, offer support and take control in difficult circumstances. They are often situations that we have envisaged and for which we have planned. Still all the while we hoped that in some way we could prevent them happening. Yet I have to say that the time and planning that we have put into this work has been of immense value to us as a unit.
No situation of conflict or readiness can be viewed in isolation. We are always working and seeking to contribute to a much larger scheme of things. Perhaps it is a perk of my position that I have been a part of that wider scheme. I can therefore say without doubt that you should be very proud of what we have achieved here. You have done your duty with a willingness and enthusiasm that would be hard to match.
I am not, of course, claiming that there haven't been mornings when you have felt less than enthusiastic. I am not claiming that there haven't been times when you were sorry you ever enlisted. I am not even claiming that there aren't times when you wished that you could run the army for a while and that if you did there would be changes. What I am saying is that, despite these feelings, you have always been good soldiers with all that implies.
I can also say that without the men and women under my command our achievements would have been far less. I thank you all for your support but also for the goodwill with which you have performed that duty. Personally I offer my thanks to you for that commitment. I am only too aware that it was given under extreme and often difficult circumstances.
Of the many friends I have the pleasure of working with I can add that I have learned much from you. These are things that I shall add to the new duties and responsibilities that a new posting will offer me. I would not want to go, nor could I without the belief that we have done the best we possibly could in the existing circumstances. I am in no doubt that we have satisfied our honour and that of our regiment. We have also added to the greater achievement of our army.
As I said preparation and a constant source of readiness is the role of the army. It is one that we have discharged with the utmost honour. I must now focus my attentions on new horizons. I do so eagerly and with great confidence. That confidence comes in part from my own belief in what we are doing. It also comes of course from all I have learned and experienced with you.
I will always remember the men and women who have shown such endeavour and willingness to put themselves in positions far beyond the call of their duty. You have done what I have asked of you and given far more. I shall never forget your devotion to duty nor the friendships that have grown out of that. I know that, in you, our country is in very safe hands indeed. May you always continue to guard it in your own special way.