A total of 169 members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) were presented with Medals of Honour for General Service during the Armed Forces Day Parade at Up Park Camp in Kingston on Friday (July 31).
Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; and Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, joined Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, in making the presentations.
This year’s recipients of medals, the conferment of which is with effect from May 23, 2019, were chosen based on completion of at least 90 days of service within any infantry unit or aboard a JDF Coast Guard ship, seven maritime deployments or a number determined by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), or seven operational flights or a number determined by the CDS.
Special presentations were also made to members of the Jamaica Regiment and the Maritime Air and Cyber Command for their role in the successful execution of ‘Operation Sandcastle’, which spanned two years.
The operation involved the dismantling of a major criminal gang that was identified as being responsible for committing numerous murders and other violent acts.
The citations indicated that the fearless actions of members of the divisions “resulted in a successful operation with the removal of the threat posed by the criminal gang to our citizens”.
Special mention was made of the pivotal role of members of the Second Battalion and the Reconnaissance Platoon of the First, Second, and Fourth Battalions of the Jamaica Regiment, and officers within the Maritime Air and Cyber Command’s Military Intelligence Unit and the Counter-Terrorism Operations Group.
Lieutenant General Meade made the presentations to the divisional heads – Acting Brigade Commander for the Jamaica Regiment, Colonel Rohan Johnson; and Brigade Commander for the Maritime Air and Cyber Command, Brigadier Roderick Williams.
Despite limitations on the admission of members of the wider public to the event due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, those attending were treated to a spectacular performance by the Mass Bands of the JDF and the Corps of Drums of the Jamaica Regiment, which included a rendition of ‘The Riverside Overture’ by American composer Robert Shelton.
The events concluded with a flyover, featuring aircraft from the JDF’s Air Wing.
Armed Forces Day, which was first held in 1981, is observed on July 31, the JDF’s Founders Day.
The commemorative presentations are also linked to the celebrations associated with Jamaica’s Independence.