Kenya Defence Forces Recruits Training

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Milestone of the Kenya Defence Forces in Training

Kenya Defence Forces recruits undertaking Assault course training at the Recruits Training School, Eldoret.

Kenya Defence Forces recruits undertaking Assault course training at the Recruits Training School, Eldoret.


Picture2Kenya Defence Forces recruits firing during Short Range classification exercise at the Recruits Training School, Eldoret
Picture7Recruits undertaking Fire and Manouvre training drill at Marigat Battle Training Field.


These are the major milestones of the Kenya Defence Forces since independence.

KDF 1953

  1. The Kenya National Assembly passes the Armed Forces Act to establish the newly independent nations military.
  2.  Kenya Army forces are moved to Northern Kenya to contain an insurrection by separatists seeking to secede from Kenya.
  3. The newly—independent Kenya Government is legally empowered to assign names to Army units as it deems necessary. 5 Kings African Rifles and 3 Kings African Rifles are renamed 5 Kenya Rifles and 3 Kenya Rifles accordingly.
  4. School of Ordinance is established to take over from the Royal Army Ordinance Corps (RAOC).

KDF  1964

  1. The Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Navy are established by Acts of Parliament.
  2. The first batch of 10 Kenyan naval officers are sent to Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC Dartmouth) for training
  3. Mutiny and disbandment of11KR Formation of 1KR under Lt Col Anderson (the Commanding Officer 3KR). Handing over of 3KR to Lt Col Mulinge, who becomes the first African commanding officer.
  4. 1KR is given its first colours.
  5. First of 40 officers and men sent to United Kingdom for parachute basic training. Kenya Army Electrical Mechanical Engineering is established.
  6. Disbandment of Animal transport.
  7. Establishment of Kahawa as a Garrison under Lt Col Nzioka.
  8. Kenya Army Pool of Instructors name changed to Kenya Army Education Corps. First Military Police selected to join Corps of Military Police.

KDF  1965

  1. First independent Parachute Company formed in Gilgil. Formation of Engineer Squadron at Gilgil.
  2. First Kenyan naval graduates return from the UK to assume their duties. They are S. Suero, J.C.J. Kimaro, J.R.E. Kibwana, N. Gatonye, E. S Mbilu, TG Mula, Buni Rua, R. Musau and B.O.C. Onyango.

KDF  1966

  1. Birth of Kenya Armed Forces Comrades Association (KAFOCA) to include Kenya Air Force and Kenya Navy.
  2. The first Artillery Battery is formed and first firing is done on Menengai Crater.

KDF  1967

  1. Kenya Army Recce troop (of Armour) is formed with three newly acquired Saladin cars.

KDF  1958

  1. First Parachute basic course is run in Kenya.
  2. Formation of 7 KR at Gilgil Barracks. K — Formation of Transport Battalion.

KDF  1969

  1. Armed Forces Constabulary formed through an Act of Parliament. — Mzee Jomo Kenyatta visits 7 Kenya Rifles for the first time.

KDF  1970

  1. 7 Kenya Rifles is presented with both presidential and unit colours.
  2. Lt Col J.C.J. Kimaro becomes the first Kenyan officer to take command of a naval ship when he joins
  3. KNS Simba.
  4. Expansion of Engineers squadron to a Battalion and relocated to Nanyuki under Lt Col T Ndunda.

KDF  1971

  1. Group Captain J. Edwards, the last British officer to command the Kenya Air Force, takes command at Eastleigh.
  2. Formation of company of Transport Battalion-with M / Benz trucks from Germany. The first military legal officer, Mr. E.N. Njatha is commissioned.
  3. First AML 245 model is received from France and forms the first squadron of the present 76 ARB.

KDF  1972

  1. Lt Col J.C.J. Kimaro appointed first indigenous commander of the Kenya Navy.
  2. Establishment of 42 Field Workshop in Kahawa Garrison.

KDF  1973

  1. Col D.N. Gichuru appointed the first indigenous commander of the Kenya Air Force. 7 Kenya Rifles moves to Langata Barracks.

KDF  1974

  1. 7 Kenya Rifles troops it colour for the first time.

KDF  1975

  1. Formation of 75 Artillery Battalion.


  1. Formation of 76 Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (76 ARB)

KDF  1977

  1. Eastern Command activated at Nanyuki under Col Ayub during the Ogaden War.
  2. 2 Battery Defence) integrated into the Kenya Air Force and forms part of the defunct Ground Air Defence Unit (GADU)
  3. Formation of 78 Tank Regiment.

KDF  1979

  1. 4 Brigade Headquarters established.
  2. Formation of 77 Artillery Battalion. The idea of its formation was mooted in 1977. 50 Air Calvary Battalion is formed.
  3. Establishment of Armored brigade headquarters.
  4. Establishment of School of Armour within Armored Brigade in Nakuru.
  5. Formation of 9 Kenya Rifles with Lt Col Opande as its first commanding officer. School of Signal assumes its current name.

KDF  1981

  1. Formation of 81 Tank Battalion Establishment of Embakasi Garrison under Brig Kipsaita. Ground Air Defence Unit (GADU) changed to 75 Artillery Battalion under Artillery Brigade and remains at Embakasi.

KDF  1982

  1. A coup attempt by non-commissioned officers of the Kenya Air Force is crushed by the Kenya Army. The Air Force is renamed 82 Air Force. KAF Eastleigh renamed Moi Air Base and KAF Nanyuki renamed Laikipia Air Base. Air Force Commander Maj. Gen PM Kariuki is relieved of command, tried and jailed for four years for failing to suppress the mutiny.

KDF  1983

  1. Establishment of Parachute Battalion under Major Rob (late Brig Rob). Unit later renamed 20 Parachute Battalion.

KDF  1985

  1. Establishment of Joint Helicopter Training School.

KDF  1986

  1. 42 Field Workshop is relocated to Nanyuki.
  2. Establishment of Central Overhaul Workshop (COW) forcing the relocation.

KDF  1988

  1. Electrical and Mechanical Engineer headquarters moves to current location of Kenya Army Corps of  Signal.

KDF  1989

  1. Establishment of 15 Kenya Rifles. 1990
  2. 20 Parachute Battalion presented with colours under Lt Col Chuma.

KDF  1995

  1. Transport Corps status is granted.
  2. Joint Helicopter Training School renamed Helicopter Training School.
  3. Kenya Army Corps of Signal is established with a view of superintending over all Army communication systems.

KDF  1995

  1. Electrical and Mechanical Engineers headquarters moves to current location.
  2. Introduction of Kenya Armed Forces Medical Scheme (AFMTS) whose greatest membership is drawn from the Kenya Army.
  3. Establishment of Western and Eastern Commands.

KDF  1999

  1. Somalia militia infiltrates Kenya at AMUMA in North Eastern Kenya and are successfully countered by the Kenya Army forces.

KDF  2001

  1. Dissolution of the merger between ALCOM and Kenya Army Corps of Transport. Relaunch of Kenya Army Corps of Transport.

KDF  2002

  1. 7 Kenya Rifles hosts the outgoing Commander-in-Chief. The Army plays a key role in transition of  leadership of the country.

KDF  2005

  1. International Mine Action Training Centre (IMATC) is established at Embakasi.

KDF  2011

  1. Kenya Defence Forces enter Somalia in Operation Linda Nchi to pursue the Islamist militia Al Shabaab.

KDF  2012

  1. Victory is declared with the capture of the militias stronghold city of Kismayu.

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Chief of Defence Forces Kenya


Chiefs of Kenyas Defence Forces the top soldier in the Kenya Defence Forces is the Chief of the Defence Forces (CDF). He is the only officer who holds the rank of four-star General. The first officer to hold the post, still then known as Chief of Defence Forces, was Maj Gen J .M.L. Ndolo Who left office after being implicated in a coup against the Government of President Jomo Kenyatta in 1971.

Maj Gen J.K. Mulinge, who later became the first officer to assume the rank of a full general, succeeded him. The most reform-minded Chief of General Staff, as the title later became, in the countrys history was General D.R.C. Tonje who instituted wide ranging changes in the defence forces, including splitting the army into two Commands Western and Eastern imposing clear retirement and succession rules and vastly expanding the Kenya defence forces training programme. He also strengthened the Kenya Armed Forces Comrades Association, the militarys retirement organisation.

Other officers to hold the rank of General and head the Defence Forces have been Mahmoud Mohammed, J.R.E. Kibwana, J .Kianga, Julius Waweru Karangi and the current one, Samson Mwathathe. It is under Karangi that Kenyas Defence Forces invaded another country for the first time in the nations history.

Of the three services, only an officer of the rank of Lt Gen commands the Army, which is next in line to that of a full general. Major Generals command the Kenya Air Force and the Kenya Navy. Traditionally, two other officers also carry the rank of Lt General in the nations defence structure. These are the Vice Chief of General Staff and the Commandant of the National Defence College, the militarys top higher education institution.

The Kenya Armys last British Commander, Brig A. J. Hardy, handed over command to Brig Ndolo in 1966. Since then, the following officers have commanded the Army:

  1. Maj Gen Jackson Mulinge (later to become CGS) 1969-1978
  2. Maj Gen ].K. Nzioka 1978-1979
  3. Lt Gen J.M. Sawe 1979- 1981, 1981-1986
  4. Maj Gen Mahmoud Mohammed (later to become CGS) 1981
  5. Lt Gen James Lenges 1986-1993
  6. Lt Gen Daudi Tonje (later to become CGS) 1993-94
  7. Lt Gen Augustine arap Cheruiyot 1994-1998
  8. Lt Gen A.A. Adan 1998-2000
  9. Lt Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo 2000-2003
  10. Lt Gen Jeremiah Kianga (later to become CGS) 2003-2005
  11.  Lt Gen Augustine Njoroge 2005-2008
  12. Lt Gen Jackson Tuwei 2008-2010
  13. Lt Gen Joseph Kasaon 2010 — to date.

The first indigenous Kenya Air Force commander was Col D.N. Gichuru who, in fact, did two tours of duty as commander. He was first appointed to the post in 1973 and served up to 1980. Since then, the roll of Air Force Commanders has been as follows;

  1. Maj Gen Peter Kariuki 1980-1982
  2. Lt Gen Mahmoud Mohammed 19824986
  3. Maj Gen Dedan Gichuru 1986-1989
  4. Maj. Gen D.K. Wachira 1988-1994
  5. Maj Gen Nick Leshan 1994-2000
  6. Maj Gen Simon Mutai 2000-2003
  7. Maj Gen Julius Karangl 2003-2005 (later to become CDF)
  8. Maj Gen Harold Tangai 2005-2010
  9. Maj Gen Joff Otieno 2010 to date

The Kenya Navy was first commanded by an indigenous Kenyan in 1972 When Lt Col J.C.J. Kimaro took the helm. He was killed in a car crash in 1978. Other Kenyans who have commanded the Navy are:

  1. Maj Gen E.S. Mbilu 1978-1988
  2. Maj Gen Joseph Kibwana (later to become CGS) 1988-1998
  3. Maj Gen Abdul Rafrouf 1998-2002
  4. Maj Gen Peter Awitta 2002-2006
  5. Maj Gen SJ. Mwathethe 2006
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