Independent Online

Monday, July 4, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Change of Command parade as Colonel Lennon Atchanna takes charge of Air Force Base Durban

Colonel Lennon Marcus Atchanna (RIGHT) and Colonel Barend Johannes Jurie Fourie during the hand over of command at the Air Force Base Durban. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Colonel Lennon Marcus Atchanna (RIGHT) and Colonel Barend Johannes Jurie Fourie during the hand over of command at the Air Force Base Durban. Picture: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 10, 2021

Share

DURBAN - COLONEL Lennon Marcus Atchanna, 38, is now in charge of Air Force Base (AFB) Durban, following an official Change of Command parade on Thursday.

Atchanna replaces Colonel Barend Johannes Jurie Fourie, 58, who takes over as commander of AFB Hoedspruit.

Story continues below Advertisement

Fourie, in his 40-year career, held management positions at the various units where he was stationed, including flight commander positions. He currently holds an A1 category flying instructor rating and also has an air transport pilot qualification, the highest civil flying academic qualification.

During the parade, Fourie said that Durban was a unique experience that challenged him physically, mentally and spiritually.

Colonel Lennon Marcus Atchanna (right) and Colonel Barend Johannes Jurie Fourie during the hand-over of command at Air Force Base Durban on Thursday. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

“Atchanna is taking charge of a highly-skilled, well-trained specialised group of people. During our interactions I have come to know you as a capable and spirited individual and well-qualified pilot and the right person to take the base into the future.”

Atchanna, he said, would receive a capable team of experts who would enable the smooth running of AFB Durban.

Atchanna will continue to maintain the relationship that was established, by supporting and collaborating with civilian aviation entities which extinguish fires and conduct search-and-rescue operations.

Donning the wing as a qualified Oryx helicopter pilot, Atchanna was born and grew up in oThongathi, north of Durban in KwaZulu Natal. He now lives in Phoenix.

Story continues below Advertisement

He joined the SA Air Force in May 2000 and successfully completed his basic military training and officers’ course in the same year. On September 1, 2005, he began his operational helicopter tour at 15 Squadron AFB Durban.

Colonel Lennon Marcus Atchanna (left) and Colonel Barend Johannes Jurie Fourie during the hand-over of command at the Air Force Durban base. Pictures: Theo Jeptha/ African News Agency(ANA)

Atchanna prides himself for being a recipient of the Royal Air Force (RAF) training award, silver and gold category (first place). He also achieved the commandant’s award for best research paper in 2020, while he was enrolled for junior-senior command and staff course at the SA National Defence Force’s War College.

Major highlights in Atchanna's career include representing the SAAF at the military symposium held in London in 2007.

Story continues below Advertisement

He said a rescue operation that stood out for him was when he was stationed at 15 Squadron and was involved in the rescue of 132 people who were stranded in severe snowstorms in the Underberg area in August 2002.

Atchanna, a husband and father of two, matriculated from Greenbury Secondary School in Phoenix and said he developed an interest in the air force when he was young. Together with the motivation of his teachers, he accomplished his dreams. He advised children and students to dream big.

Atchanna said he was ready to lead and face some challenges like combating illegal border crossings, and run patrols, together with ground forces. His base covers the province.

Story continues below Advertisement

DAILY NEWS

Related Topics:

SANDF

Share