On Saturday, 18th December 2021, former and current Officers and Service Members from the 1st Battalion the Kenya Rifles (1KR) made a visit to the home of the first African Commanding Officer (CO) of the Unit, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Korigo Barno in Kabirirsang, Nandi County.
The Service Personnel were led by the former Kenya Army Commander retired Lieutenant General Lazarus Sumbeiywo among other retired senior officers among them Brigadier(Rtd) Martin Onyango, Brigadier(Rtd) Peter Magut, and Brigadier(Rtd) Daniel Bartonjo. Current serving Senior Officers included; Commandant School of Infantry Brigadier John Kipya, 4th Brigade Deputy Commander Colonel Joel Maiyo, Deputy Langata Garrison Commander Colonel Henry Kogo and the current CO of the Unit Lt Col Daniel Baraza, among other serving and retired Senior Officers, Officers and Service Members.
Those present during the occasion hailed Lt Col (Rtd) Barno as a trailblazer who set a firm foundation for the unit which has seen the unit lead in discipline, operational success as well as moulding of military leaders.
On his part, the retired CO said he was proud to have been chosen to lead in independent Kenya’s first parade as the country became a Republic in 12th December 1964 having attained independence and internal self-rule in 1963. He also expressed gratitude to those who took command of the unit after him and overseeing the growth of the unit to its current status.
Lt Col (Rtd) Barno was enlisted in 1948 in the then King’s African Rifles. He rose through the ranks and took over the command of 1KR on Jamhuri Day 1964 as the parade commander. It is at the same Jamhuri Day celebrations that 1KR received and trooped its Colours, becoming the first military unit to be established in Kenya. Lt Col (Rtd) Barno led the unit up to 1966 when he was appointed the Commander Kahawa Garrison. He retired in 1967.