"I asked for God's protection from all dangers which were prevalent in all conflict theatres and finally, for common sense". This would be one of the many prayers offered by Lieutenant General, Emmanuel Alexander Erskine as he was offered the position of 1st commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1978. The prayers he offered would go a long way in protecting him as multiple assassination attempts were made on his life during his time as a soldier.
From the 1st Commander of UNIFIL to the 19th Commander of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), Lt. Gen. Erskine would go on to live a fulfilled and adventurous life as a Ghanaian soldier and politician.
In Ghana, he served in various capacities as an officer in the Ghanaian army. He was Commanding Officer of the Ghana Signal Regiment, then Director of Communications at the Ministry of Defence. He was also Director of Operations and Planning of the same Ministry from 1971 - 1972, Chief of Army Staff for a brief period between January and February 1972, and again held the position from February 1973 to April 1974.
Internationally, he served in Egypt as Chief of Staff and Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Emergency Force Two (UNEF 2), from 1974 to 1976, then to Israel where he was appointed as the Chief of Staff of UNTSO from January 1976 to April 1978, he was also the United Nations Secretary General's Representative for Matters relating to UN Peace-Keeping Operations in the Middle East from February 1981 to May 1986.
In 1992 he joined politics as the flagbearer for the erstwhile People's Heritage Party, he ranked fifth and decided that a political career was not for him. However, he took away a great lesson: "One important thing in politics is the human being".
After his short stint in politics, he went back to lecturing and doing what he did best; conflict resolution. Between 1999 and 2004 he worked with the UN, and the Ghanaian government on the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) before hanging up his uniform.
From commanding forces through lecturing to politics, Lt. Gen. Erskine proved that he was a man of many talents, and the title "One-man battalion" is a fitting description for a statesman soldier who leaves a proud legacy.
Anonymous - December 9, 2021
A fine gentleman and a true soldier. Very missed