Thousands of national services conscripts lined the ends of the desert paralleled by heavy armoured vehicles as Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed attended the final day of a military exercise on Sunday.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces drove alongside a parade of national service recruits and military reservists that extended kilometres as he visited Al Hamra Camp in Al Dhafra area of Abu Dhabi to watch Homat Al Watan 2 (Protectors of the Nation).
Sheikh Mohammed was received by Maj Gen Hamad Al Romaithi, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Maj Gen Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the National Service and Reserve and a number of senior commanders of the Armed Forces.
Members of the Armed Forces demonstrated field and combat skills and carried out a number of defence exercises using live ammunition and grenades, reported state news agency Wam.
The exercises were designed around various landscapes; some skills were demonstrated in mock residential areas while others were carried out by the sea – such as “Operation Defending the Sea Coast” which involved different Armed Forces units.
Sheikh Mohammed toured and reviewed the facilities of the Ground Forces Command and the weapons exhibition, where he was also briefed about the different kind of weaponry that the national service recruits are trained to use.
During his visit, Sheikh Mohammed praised the heroism of the country’s Armed Forces and commended them for their sacrifices.
“To every family, every mother, every father, we thank you for your education which raises our heads with pride. I bear witness that you have birthed and raised the greatest heroes we have seen.”
He later tweeted: "Protecting one's homeland is the noblest duty that can be performed.
"We are proud to see our youth uphold the highest military values and ably protect our nation. We have utmost confidence in their capabilities.