Polewara Promoted To Commodore

For the first time in the 46-year history of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF), the military has two serving generals, newly promoted Commodore Philip Polewara and PNGDF Commander, Major General Gilbert Toropo.

The elevation in the rank of Commodore Philip Polewara, Deputy Chief of the PNGDF from Captain (Navy) took place at the military headquarters, Murray Barracks. 

Commodore Polewara is from Vunapope, Kokopo, East New Britain Province. In 1986, he graduated from the Defense Force Academy as an army second Lieutenant then the following year in 1987, he underwent the conversion and became a naval officer. A career path he has pursued to this day.

Serving in various capacities, Commodore Polewara has quite a colorful and successful career. The highlights of his career have seen him serve as an Exchange Officer with the Royal Australian Navy on HMAS Brunei in 1989, and commanding several PNG naval units from 1992 to 2002.

Fast forward 12 years and Commodore Polewara’s civil achievements include a Bachelor’s Degree in Business majoring in Public Policy from the University of Papua New Guinea, a Masters in Liberal Arts majoring in International Relations from Southern Virginia University New Port, Rhode Island USA.          

In attendance of the ceremony was Prime Minister Marape who congratulated the newly promoted Commodore on his achievement.

PM Marape said: “Let me congratulate you for ascending, you have earned it by merit. Your stripes conferred are in order and we look forward to your tenure-ship as you assist in leading the women and men who stand in Parade and assemble here and the 4000 of them who serve in our country.”

Commander for PNGDF Major General Gilbert Toropo said the day marked a significant occasion in the history of the Defence Force.  

“We see the elevation of the office of the formerly Chief of Staff to be now known as the Deputy Chief of Defence Force.”

The elevation of the Office of the Chief of Staff to Deputy Chief of PNGDF and promotion of from Captain (Navy) to Commodore Philip Polewara is a decision of the National Executive Council’s

This NEC decision signifies the change the country’s military is undertaking for the growth and strategic plan for next year and the plans for the Defence Force’s vision 2050.


Marysila Kellerton