SCWO Jan Albert Diederik Viljoen JCD
Jan Albert Diederik Viljoen was born on 30 March 1961 in Pretoria. He was schooled at Vereeniging Hoërskool and Matriculated in 1979. He completed his studies at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology after National Service.
He was called up to 1SAI Bloemfontein in January 1980 where his leadership qualities and organisational skills were quickly recognised, and he was selected to join the Junior Leadership Course. In 1980 he qualified as a Corporal Instructor.
After clearing out in December 1981 he was allocated to Johannesburg Regiment for the completion of his Citizen Force Service. He was called up for his first camp in 1983, and after completing the requisite training he was promoted to Sergeant at the end of the year.
He acted as a platoon sergeant for a few years, whilst completing formal courses for his promotion. In 1987 he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. By now it was clear that Jan was part of a special breed and a career NCO. As such he also started shadowing senior Warrant Officers to learn more about their jobs on the ground. He had organisational skills of the highest order, and a great disciplinarian to boot. Soon the RSM made Jan his right-hand man, and he excelled in various roles in the Echelons.
In July 1990 the RSM of Johannesburg Regiment resigned, citing work pressure. Although the Regiment had a few Warrant Officers at the time, most of them indicated that they would not be eligible for the post of RSM. By now Staff Sergeant Viljoen was firmly entrenched in the leader group, and his Commanding Officer, Cmdt. Harry van Staden made special representation to 72 Brigade Headquarters. After a successful interview with a committee chaired by the Brigade Sergeant Major, he was promoted to Warrant Officer First Class and appointed as RSM of Johannesburg Regiment. Although relatively young for such an appointment, he had completed all courses up to Echelon Commander by then.
He served in this role with distinction and deployed with Johannesburg Regiment in an operational capacity as well as conventional training interventions on Brigade and Divisional levels. His efficiency did not go unnoticed, and he was soon approached by Commanding Officer and outgoing DSM 7 Infantry Division to assume the post of Divisional Sergeant Major. He assumed this posting in 1993 and handed over the post of RSM to the new RSM at JR in November 1993.
In April 2009 he was promoted to Senior Chief Warrant Officer and appointed as Sergeant Major of the Reserve Force Division, a post that he held at the time of his death.
While he held this post, he always had a parallel career in various companies, mainly in the property evaluation market. He also found time to be highly active in the nineties in the Maior Club, an exclusive club for Sergeant Majors, a longstanding committee member of the Johannesburg Regiment Association and Chairperson of the Military Associations of Gauteng.
SCWO Jan Viljoen was awarded the following Medals during his career, Pro Patria Medal, Southern Africa Medal, General Service Medal, Tshumelo Ikatelaho Medal, Unitas Medal, John Chard Medal and John Chard Decoration.
Senior Chief Warrant Officer JAD Viljoen was a career soldier, a loyal veteran and a friend to many. He leaves a massive gap in so many places and will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace.
In paying tribute to SCWO Viljoen the recently retired Chief of Defence Reserves, Major General Roy Andersen said “it has been my privilege to serve with Sergeant Major Viljoen for the past fifteen years. He was always professional and totally committed to the Reserves. He will be missed.”
Tribute compiled in part by Lt Col H Van Staden MMM JCD (Rtd)