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