The nation is mourning the loss of Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla, who tragically perished in a helicopter crash in Kaben, Marakwet East, on Thursday.

General Ogolla assumed the role of Chief of Defence Forces in April 2023, succeeding General Robert Kibochi, who retired upon reaching the mandatory exit age of 62.

Before his appointment as the CDF, General Ogolla served as the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces, a position where he demonstrated his leadership capabilities and commitment to the nation’s security.

A highly educated and accomplished military officer, General Ogolla graduated from École Militaire de Paris and the National Defence College of Kenya, showcasing his dedication to continuous learning and professional development.

His academic qualifications include a Diploma in International Studies and Military Science from Egerton University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Armed Conflict, and Peace Studies (First Class Honors), and a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Nairobi.

Throughout his distinguished military career spanning over 39 years, General Ogolla held various leadership positions, including Commander of the Kenya Air Force, where he served for three years with distinction.

His contributions to the military extended beyond command roles, as he also served in training, staff, and operational capacities, both domestically and internationally.

General Ogolla’s commitment to service extended to his involvement in organizations such as the Military Christian Fellowship and the Association of African Air Chiefs, where he played significant roles in fostering collaboration and camaraderie among military personnel.

Outside of his military duties, General Ogolla cherished his family life, being married to Aileenn Ogolla and blessed with two children and a grandson. He also enjoyed hobbies such as reading and playing golf, balancing his professional responsibilities with personal interests.

As the highest-ranking military officer in the Kenya Defence Forces, the Chief of Defence Forces plays a crucial role in advising the President and the National Security Council on military matters and overseeing the coordination of military operations.

President William Ruto, in explaining his choice of General Ogolla as the CDF, emphasized the general’s extensive experience, integrity, and dedication to duty, affirming his confidence in General Ogolla’s ability to lead the military effectively.

In assuming his role as the Chief of Defence Forces, General Ogolla articulated his mission of fostering unity and collaboration within the military, emphasizing the importance of a cohesive and purpose-driven force.

He pledged to work closely with other security agencies within a broader multi-agency framework to ensure the safety, security, and stability of the country, prioritizing sustainable economic development and prosperity for all citizens.