Farewell to One of Armour's Pillar of Support, 30 July 2010, Bloemfontein

Article and Photos by Major Marinda Meyer, Staff Officer 2 Communication SA Army Armour Formation

This ceremony is the first of its kind in the history of the SA Army Armour Formation - the Change of Office of the Formation Sergeant Major. For the past eleven years the same incumbent, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) H.J. Venter, has held the position, until he handed over office to Mater Warrant Officer (MWO) Abel Mabote on Friday, 30 July 2010 in Tempe Bloemfontein.

The SA Army Armour Formation Headquarters, supported by 1 Special Service Battalion, presented the Change of Office Parade and Farewell Function. Brigadier General Chris Gildenhuys, General Officer Commanding SA Army Armour Formation paid tribute to Chief Warrant Officer Venter during his address, and said: "I wish to express the organisation's sincere gratitude to you for the contribution that you have made as a soldier. You have distinguished yourself as one of the best among the best."

Chief Warrant Office Floors Venter is retiring after serving in the SA National Defence Force for 37 years. A parade was presented by a guard of honour from 1 SA Tank Regiment. A colour company comprising the colours and colour parties of all SA Armoured Corps (SAAC) Regular Force and Reserve Force units was also paraded. The SA Army Artillery participate in the parade with the shooting of the 25 ponder gun because Chief Warrant Officer Venter is an honorary member of the gunners.

On 14 February 1973 Chief Warrant Officer Venter joined the then South African Defence Force and in the same year started the Part 1 Instructor Course and Infantry School , Oudtshoorn. In 1974 he was transferred to 2 Special Service Battalion in Zeerust as instructor and was promoted to corporal. In 1979 he was transferred to School of Armour as an instructor and in 1983 he was again transferred to 2 Special Service Battalion as Squadron Sergeant Major and in 1987 became the RSM. In 1992 he was transferred to Group 30, Potchefstroom, as Group Sergeant Major. In 1999 he became the first Warrant Officer of the SA Army Armour Formation in Pretoria.

After 37 years of service, Chief Warrant Officer Floors Venter is escorted by
Brigadier General Chris Gildenhuys (right) to do his final salute as he
drives in an Eland 90 vehicle past the spectators during the parade



















Master Warrant Officer Abel Mabote is appointed and promoted as the SA Army Armour Formation Sergeant Major. In Brigadier General Chris Gildenhuys's speech he said to Master Warrant Officer that, "you are a respected soldier in our Formation and you will now also have to earn the respect of other stakeholders at higher levels. I wish you the very best for this new assignment. Be assured of my personal support and that of our OCs, RSMs and Staffs in all your endeavours."

Chief Warrant Officer H.J. Venter at the Change of Office
of the Formation











A reception was presented for some 300 invited guests and Senior Chief Warrant Officer M.V. Kgaladi, Sergeant Major of the SA Army also attended.