THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SOMALIA AIRFORCE : A Diary Reflection
Original diary by Col. Ahmed Sheikh Hassan “Hareed” unofficial translational and diary (Aug 26, 2007)
Introduction by Capt.(Col) Mohamed Mohamud Ali  “Capt. Weli” (October, 2008)

Diary Introduction and related Message

Praise be to Allah, and May His Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, Muhammed (P.B.U.H).
After that, I am pleased to have a look at the diary recollection on the evolution of the Somalia Air force and its demise by brother Hareed. The coverage on the series of development, Including Human capital and hardware, remains a potential asset. The information generated by Col. Hareed is great contribution and gives a clear background on the evolution process of the Somali Air force and Aviation industry. Somalia has lost a great deal of reference on all  but experts contribution on specialized area may construct a nascent foundation such references on the past would enable us to look the future with an informed lenses. My beloved son, Abdiaziz Sheikh Mohamed has first seen the diary posted on the Ceegag Online. He has shared with me for its perusal of the word and the beauty of the events has motivated me to  contributed to the great work no doubt, it is service to the nation and a projections towards national pride and belonging.
What Next ?

To build an access to the diary, I have made unofficial translation and contributed my insights through col. Hareed ensured an  extensive . Somalis are today scattered all over the world with part of a whole generation brought an environment outside our motherland. This generation may be better of in English than Somali. I am not trying to blame them but instead exposing our multidimensional society. Blame is to those who caused the misery in our homeland.
Secondly, I have also constructed a web page purposely to launch an interactive discussion and build on the history and the relevant mechanics of the subject. Coming back to the diary, Col Ahmed’s recollection touched on the following.
Photos of the event from 1954 with notes on  the human and materials  resources all the way to the 1988. This period was moment growth and capacity building to the Somalia Air force and aviation industry. Somalia was by fellow African leaders in the formation OAU on 25th May. 1963 for flying in a plane with Somali  flag operated by indigenous pilots. However, the first day Somali crew took charge of flights affairs was on February 15, 1960 at 07:15 hrs.
Italy has played a great role in preparing Somalia for early takeover of business Col.  Ahmed Sheikh Macow and his Technical team was instrumental in this respect. Other support came from Egypt, Iraq and the Soviet Union.
The most remarkable Somali leader who has acted in defiance of his advisors in order to encourage and give confidence to the local crew is the late President Adan Abdulle Osman. He was flown together with his large delegation by Somali crew with 3 years experience and an old plane to the OAU summit on May 24, 1963. The phrase he used in rejecting the proposal to request a plane with experienced pilots from the Italians lingers in the hearts and minds of the Somali Air force veterans.

In his words he said in Somali, “oo yaa annaga ka wanaagsan oo ay ku barbarin lahayeen” a close translation may be, “we are best place to be used for their practices” While our glory was on the rise and maturity realized at early ages. Our conducts at the end of the 80s is not immune from contest we were trained to defend our country from external aggression but not to be used in making scores on the internal front. Not all were tempted on this game and some have defied the orders by virtue of professionals’ ethics and moral confinements. The last on the released content of the diary is the period of disintegrated on photos showing current status of the key air force installations were taken on 2006. This shows extent of the wanton destruction. The destruction is not limited to the air force but covers all pillars of the Somali state and the societal bonds actors with expertise on destruction to its full meaning grounded the country to its ashes.
Of note and equally moving is the content of his introductory message that is a reminder of the good days, contrary to the catastrophic events that has unfolded in our homeland. Despite its ups and downs, at least level of patriotism and statesmanship reigned in our times. That is not to say that the situation was all rosy but was at least manageable and not to this extent. The current picture of events defines ignorance people who cannot differentiate between good and evil, enemy and friend and are only occupation purely with me than “we”. The national cause had more weight that individual interest at our times. The forces of assimilations had greater and hence other factors if any had a subordinate role.
The reversed historical gains in Somalia came through massive human and material sacrifices. The retrogressive tendencies that have turned Somalia into ashes, to be blunt enough, were pursued by clique purportedly acting on behalf of the innocent population.

What was the rallying point of these destructive agendas?. These force in my view lack confidence and misuse clan to pursue their agendas. Clan is proved to be antithesis of a state in its politicized for while politics was militarized thus publicizing statesmanship. The Somali public is a hostage to actors with conflicting agendas. The reigning level of violence left the innocent population on the receiving end. As days goes by, the pain and agony on the innocent population is on the rise. The Somali crisis has both internal and external dimension. On the external front actors with vested interests are engaged in the Somali theatre in pursuant of a narrow agenda. Not all agendas pursued by external actors are destructive but few are enough to compromise good intentions. However, all these plots are possible due to weakness on the internal fronts. This would connect us to the question of leadership. The challenge  in Somali is about leadership to its true meaning. Leadership apparatus is an essential toolbox in addressing the evidence challenges in Somalia. The kind of leadership required is one with an ability to relate to the realities of the new century. The current crop of leaders in the Somalia the political landscape are self imposed, incompetent  and unlikely to understand their duties and rights such clique promoted culture that  in favor of,” think and act locally than thinking globally and acting locally. This pattern is not in tandem with the challenging geopolitical context.

The situations reminds me of what I called, “Cinrro iyo carrab aan is lahayn” that is close to age (experience) failing to relate to the action in platform. This defines an actor in an old age but is engaged in attempt to kill the goose that is laying golden eggs. The elders have to promote decency for emulation but not the other way round.
I am indebted to description on the situation in Somalia by my beloved son and closed friend, Khalif on his paper presented in the quest for a culture of peace in the IGAD region: The role of Intellectuals and Scholars published by Heinrich Boell Foundation – 2006, “ that in flight theory (Theory of aerodynamics),  one has to make an effective airport analysis in order to facilitate safe take off and landing, otherwise it would lead to an accident. The five factors to be considered are temperature, pressure, altitude, wind and weight. The flight pilot has to strike a balance in those factors to avoid any foreseeable risks. The weight is dependable on a reflection based on the temperature, pressure, altitude and the direction of the wind. Any attempted landing, may lead to the flight over running the runway causing an accident that harms both crew and the population. Hence, the Somali crisis if symbolized as such, is faced with a strong tall wind that manifest itself in form of regional, international or local actors pressure. A remedial measure would have to put in place; a special performance instrument installed on the process in form of reconciliation. The international community has to play the role of headwind to stabilize the take off and the landing. The headwind and the tailwind have to be balanced to enable safe landing and take off” To conclude lets reflect the saying of our noble Prophet, Muhammed (P.B.U.H), that,” knowledge without suitable action is a burden and action not based on truthful knowledge is a misguidance”

All the best  on  your readings of the unofficial translation of the diary!!!
Col. (Capt) Mohamed Mohamud Ali “Capt Weli”

COL. HAREED DIARY – UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION
(SOMALIA AUGUST 25, 2007  Ceegag Onlines)
REFLECTIONS ON THE NUCLEI OF THE SOMALE AIRFORCE

Dearest Colleagues  and friends.
“The friends who are no more together and live in different world due to the realities the global challenges. My honorable and distinguished friends, the friends we have shared strong and cemented relationship and scarified their lives for the sake of others included long term investments aimed at strengthening and building a formidable force. The friends who volunteered that the national cause in their early ages and remained on high alert to safeguard the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. The friends who honored the national pride and faced sharp edges of the spears and strong shields with courage. The friends who were foundation of the force and remained half a sleep in all times to ensure safety, security of the Somali airspace. Friends whose contribution was remarkable and deserves not underestimation. The friends with unfolding sense of patriotism and discipline and above all we immune from fear and unnecessary complains in execution of their national duties. The pioneer and pillars of the forces known to have paid a price and spilled their precious blood for national course and persuade
enemy targets and intercepted war planes ensuring  that enemies were kept away from the national territory. The power and the national glory that was never subjected cancer of clan politics but instead acted as elders and were the intellectuals power base, experts engines and the founders of the force. Today is a great day in particular 15th of February to celebrate 47th anniversary of the formation of the Somali Air force while variation on the countdown exist with in different lots of the force. In this regard I wish all of you, memories of joy and great moments of honor and respect the great occasion. I would like to extend my warm greetings and heartfelt message of congratulations to you and your families wherever you might be in the four corners of the world. Together lets pray to the almighty Allah for his mercy and enable us to become those who meet in the paradise. As for those who died,   my prayers to almighty Allah for paradise as their reward. Amiin!.

My special  congratulatory message to the veteran flight Captain Mohamud Abdullahi Barre (faytan) and his wife, as the only survivors of the five founding pilots of the Air Force, who have obtained license in 1954 and flown 15 different types both in military and civilian. Faytan was the first pilot trained on jet fighter in Egypt In 1961. The same fighter became the first airplanes that came in use with in the national force by 1963. Faytan has contributed to the foundation pillars of the national carrier, Somalia Airlines in which he has being a pilot from 1964 – 1990. Further, extend my salutations to the pilots, engineers and technical team of the national carries and the Somali national police force wing as an offshoot of the Somalia Air force. Similar message to the only Somali female pilot, Mrs Asli Hassan Abade who has played a great role in the Somali reconciliation process held in our sister nation of Djibouti in th year 2000. Her remarkable role in the Arta (Djibouti) process has accorded her the Codename “Calansida”. She  was a symbol of encouragement to the Somali women to engage in competition with their male counterparts. Equally, she has injected patriotism sensibility and sense of national belonging both to their participants of the Arta peace process, those within Somali and others spread all over th world. Considering the importance of the occasion, I would like to present photographs of the important event of 15th February 2008. The album is a recollection of the evolution stages of the Somali air force leading all the way to the maturity our force power.

I have covered the photos and wrapped additional materials for its preservation in underground storage facility. The album had photos taken from 1957 to 1988. The album was in the underground facility between 05/01/91 to 29/11/96. However, rains and other manmade calamity has  left part of the photographs destroyed. The civil war phenomenon has destroyed all the historical sites and public assets, and as updates of the current reality took additional photos including the present situation of the Air force Headquarter. Those who knew the air force Headquarter would be surprised to see the massive destruction caused by the war lords grandiose and militiamen on the rampage. A war without a cause that has only contributed to the total destruction annihilation of both human capital and material resources. This tragic event has grounded the once national symbols including the Aviation Airbase constructed in 1929 renovated in 1943(British), 1950 (Italians), 1962, 1975 (Somalia) and 1994(Unisom). February 15, did not came through Presidential decree alone, but it is a day that deserves to be honored with commemoration. The Somali Air force has its origin in the unit established by the Italians in the 50s with an aim to protect their personnel and properties. Until the beginning of the force commemoration Somali was not given the opportunity to train transport pilots. February 15 was the day we realized our dream came through the day for the first time we have manned our airspace and flew planes all by ourselves. It is the fourth day of historical importance to the Somalia air force after 26th June, 1960 and 27th June 1975. It was on 5th February that a Somali crew of 2 pilots and 3 engineers flew on twin-engine-Douglas C-47 Dakota (sky train) or DC-3 Dakota numbered “Bosaso”. We had two planes similar to the bosaso but preferred to fly n Bosos5. The arrangement was purely a Somali and with out external support. The code name Bosaso stood for Bosaso while digit 5 represented all Somali inhabited areas.
Characteristics of the Dakota Plane
Crew and passengers     
2 pilots and 30 passengers

Fuel capacity:
804 gallon or 3047 Liters

Maximum speed:
360 km/h

Cruise speed (security & minimize fuel consumption):
270-280 km/h

Long range with fuel tank full:
2400 km

Wings span:
29.11 m

Plane’s length:
19.41 m

Height:
5.18 m

Plane’s weight (without load):
8256 kg

Cargo Weight:
4500 kg

Event before 1st day of airborne

Commander of the Italian air force technical experts in Somalia. Col. (Capt) Rosati gave a rehearsal to the Somali team before airborne Col Rosati message carried technical advise and importance of team spirit. The following are selected areas of his speech:- “Central to the requirement in sending you for the pilots training was merits and sound health status. You must be careful and refrain from commonly used clan practices with in the force. If such practice is applied with in the force, there is no doubt that potential personnel would be marginalized. Instead you must promote knowledge, competence, commitments and honesty in your reward systems” “You have to sweat during normalcy, to avoid spilling blood in the war time. You are between life and death and must work together to safe your lives and that of the public solely depending on your expertise”. Nowhere in history has clan led to prosperity, and hence it is your duty to move above your clan lines. Clan is source of unfairness, injustice, inferiority and despise. You must ensure togetherness and promote equality and fairness with in the force to realize your dreams” “That is the plane for your assignment and it is exclusively your task and would not have our support. You must ensure its utmost care, as the slightest mistake will cost your lives.

The plane would fall in the event of slight increase on weight or overconfidence. You are service men of newly born country that would acquire is independence. If your mission is challenged do not react, but demonstrate loyalty to the country’s leadership. You would face difficult challenges including mismanagement, poor command leadership and lack of experience, but unnoticeable at this stage. That challenge must not discourage you and loose your hope. Instead analyze situations, maintain patience, and remain on course with the understanding that experience and honesty would ultimately define success. “Recognize rank, merit and achievement to be ever together and as safeguard from failure and build on success. This is the only way to overcome the challenging encounters in pursuit of your daily business”. On that very day, 2 airplanes that were similar to boso 5(Boso3 and Boso4) were kept on standby purposely to provide rescue operations for the plane and the passengers in case of any eventualities. The mitigation measure was put in place in order to react accordingly in case the plane was lost or developed technical problems among others. Since the project was in a nascent stage. The facilities essential for security and navigational purposes were not in place. This means that communication and meteorological aids were efficient enough for reliance.

As part of the precautionary measures, the air force communication facilities in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Galcaio and Qardho were put on higher alert and similar instructions given to police installations in th Mudug and bari regions that had culture cooperation’s. C) 15th February 1960 – Honored as Anniversary day
On 15th February at 07:15, Bosos5 take off from Mogadishu airport with 5 Somali crews and 25 passengers, different parcels( postals), salaries for police and other transitional government employees stationed in districts within Mudug and Bari regions. The flight passed through Galcaio,Bosaso,Kandola in the same day and spent overnight in Alalula. The plane take oof from Alalula on the 2nday and covered districts of isku shuban, Qardho, Eyl, Hobio and finally returned to Mogadishu  minutes (16:23 hrs) before its ETA (estimated time of Arrival)
The plane and its passengers were given a warm welcome at the parking area by the entire air force team and the Italian Technical experts.

Our celebration day on February 15,1960

The air force was on higher alert in the 2 days flight in Afisyoone monitoring radio communication and shared information related to take takeoff and landing in various destinations. Other memorable days similar to February 15. Other memorable days of assignments both with in Somalia and outside included the foreign ministry delegation led by Hon Mohamed Ali Da’ar to Congo on May 16,1961. Purposely to attend the funeral of the former Congolese Prime Minister the late Patrice Lumumba buried in the following day. The air force was instrumental in this mission. Another key occasion remembered with its importance of the moment was on 24th may, 1963. This was the day the air force has flown a large delegation led by the 1st Independent Somalia President Adan Abdulle Osman to attend the conference marking the formation of the Organizations of the African Unity on 25th Mau, 1963. He was credited for being the first African president flying on a plane belonging to his country and flown by indigenous pilot. Upon his return the president has sent a congratulatory message to the crew of the plane and another written note to the air force in general (Soleme Encamio)

The Italina technical experts were please with the feedback on the trip and congratulated the crew. They boosted that ,’the success is the outcome of our investment” Reliable sources with in the presidency, reported that officers close to the president advised on the need to request a plane from the Italians than depending on old plane with Somali crew having an experience of only 3 years. The president has defended the Somali crew and facility as follows: - “we are best placed for their practical ”. The courage shown by the president became source of encouragement and confidence. By Allah’s permission, the former president remained alive while none of the crew who flew him at that very day and those advising against the decision are alive. Despite with an ability to remain operational, the plane was grounded in June 1972 and replaced with the airplane (An 24) that was popularly known as Shebelleyda”

On the 30th June, a diay to 1st July 1960, the Italians technical experts handed over to us 8 planes as follows:
3 Douglas C-47 Dakota Sky train
2 Beech craft C-45 expeditor
1 North American AT6 “Harvard”
1 Stinson L-5 Sentinel
1 Piper

In the midnight hours of 1st July after taking part in the assignment to raise Somali flag and returning weapons used in the parade, we have immediately mobilized ourselves to replace Italian flag printed on 3 of the planes in order to take part in the celebration planned for the day in the Stadium Coni. This was a day to mark the unity of the south and the north, but at the same time the public got the opportunity to see Somalia armed forces in their full military gear: Riding on tanks, trucks and related hardware. This units was codenamed “ALI BOOBAYE”. Five of the 8 airplanes were transport, and given the following names proposed by pilot Ali Matan Hashi in the same night as follows :-Sarreeya, Saramara, Samawado, Saaxil and Sacadaddiin. The name did not come into practices as intended by pilot Hashi. The last two names were derived from one of the songs that served as a motto for the Somali Youth league (SYL) with the verse reading, “Sinku yeen, Saaxil iyo waqooyi yad weeye yaqiintu miyaa”.

During the maturity of the league, saaxil was the long coastal line on the southern Somalia covering from war sheikh up to Zanzibar, and was under the control of Sayyid Barqash. Waqooyi was known to be territory from the gulf of tajora in Djbouti upto kabo Guwardufu. Sacadaddina is a small baren island with in the red sea and situated between Berbera and lasqoray, and thus used to represent waqooyi(north). In our view at that time, Sacadadina seemingly had strategic importance due to its position. This could be a defensive position for our future marine vessels and long range artillery piece as a measure to secure our economic exclusive zone with in the red sea. (gulf of tajora upto Kaabo Guwardufay)