The School of Artillery is celebrating its 80th birthday

Parabot
Parabot

Potchefstroom has long been known as the Artillery mecca of the South African Army, as it hosts all of the regular force (full time) Artillery units of the SA Army.

One of these units is the School of Artillery, situated at the Klipdrift Military Base outside Potchefstroom. The School of Artillery has established itself as a centre of excellence and was nominated as one of the best units in the SA Army in 2014. The unit is the best artillery training institute on the African continent and regularly train not only SA soldiers, but also gunners from other countries.

The School of Artillery has a long and proud history that dates back to 7 September 1934, when an Artillery Training Depot was established at “Roberts Heights” (Thaba Tshwane) for the artillery training of permanent force recruits. On 21 October 1936 the depot’s name was changed to “Artillery School” and on 17 October 1939 the school relocated to Potchefstroom.

On 1 February 1964, the unit became the “School of Artillery” and on 10 March 1978, it was granted the Freedom of the City of Potchefstroom. On 16 January 1989, the unit relocated to the Klipdrift Military Base about 21 km from Potchefstroom. In September 2014, the School of Artillery celebrated its 80th birthday and it was decided that the celebrations would be extended to the Potchefstroom community and that they would take place in the 80th year (2015). On 21 May 2015, the School of Artillery will host a military ball to celebrate 8 decades and the annual School of Artillery corporate golf day will take place on 22 May. Part of the event will be a fundraiser for the anti-rhino poaching campaign and that is where Parabot comes in.

The rhino has a very special place in the hearts of the gunners, due to the fact that the main Gun in the South African Army Artillery Corps arsenal is the 155mm GV6 self-propelled gun. The GV6’s code name is the Rhino. Not only is it the flagship of the SA Artillery, but also of the entire SA Army. The officers’ bar at the School of Artillery is also named after the rhino. It was, therefore, a very sad day for the Potchefstroom gunners when the two rhinos were poached here in Potchefstroom a couple of weeks ago. This tragedy then sparked the initiative to get involved in the anti-poaching campaign.

Parabot belongs to the Paramount Group, an international weapon systems manufacturer that is very much involved in the fight against rhino poaching. Parabot is the main drive of Paramount to generate funds for the anti-poaching campaign. The School of Artillery, in partnership with Paramount, has decided to bring Parabot to Potchefstroom for a joint fundraising drive to raise as much money as possible in the fight against rhino poaching. The Parabot and a GV6 will form the centre of this drive, but more detail on that next week.

In the meantime, everyone in Potchefstroom can start to prepare because the unit is challenging each and everyone to get involved. Any business, company or supporter of the School of Artillery that would like to attend the Military Ball on 21 May 2015 should contact Captain Werner Joubert for more information. A table for eight guests is R4,000. The ball will be the main celebration of the School of Artillery’s 80th birthday. The golf day is also open to the public, depending on the number of entries that have already been received by then.

For more details, please contact Captain Werner Joubert on 018 289 3879 or send an email to schoolofarty@gmail.com

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